In the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake, land and property issues emerged as an area of significant concern in Haiti. Analyses in the weeks following the disaster warned that destruction of property records, massive population displacement and loss of life could contribute to opportunism, land grabbing, conflict and delayed resettlement—particularly in urban areas severely affected by the earthquake. Prior to the earthquake the situation in Haiti was complicated due to high levels of squatter settlements on both public and private land, a poorly operating land registration system, disparities in land ownership and high levels of informality. These conditions contributed to a general environment of tenure insecurity that impacted peoples’ land use decisions, including the types of investments made on the land and whether the land could be leased. As a result of this environment , much of the land in Haiti is fragmented and degraded, which has negatively affected the environment and food production.
In this context, it is welcome news to see that the Government of Haiti has recently launched a process of land reform aimed at clarifying land rights and ownership. The details are included a recent Haiti Libre blog post.