The Bolivia Land Titling Program (BLTP) helped Bolivia’s National Agrarian Reform Institute and its Property Registry System to develop a low-cost model to title and register more than 470,000 hectares containing more than 25,000 properties. The activity improved security of property rights and to expanded individual access to land markets and the full benefits of land assets. The project developed and validated a massive low-cost titling process — the results of which are accessible on the Internet — that can be applied throughout the country. Land titling fostered by the project helps farmers receive loans and encourages them to abandon illicit crops, while strengthening government institutions at all levels.
In this section we report on the specific achievements and activities during the quarter for each of the four strategic objectives. The project has four strategic objectives: 1) Develop and Strengthen INRA’s Institutional Capacity; 2) Develop and Strengthen DDRR’s Institutional Capacity; 3) Develop and Implement an Outreach Dissemination Program; and 4) Develop and Strengthen the Municipalities’ Capacity
QUARTERLY PROGRESS REVIEW: STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 1: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN INRA’S INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY
While the INRA Cochabamba office is experiencing a change in its work culture, and has developed significant capacity to process titles through the ownership verification phase, the La Paz office that must complete the titling and registration phase continues to resist change, and continues to fall behind the goals specified in the FARAs. The BLTP has informed the INRA La Paz office that it will not pay salaries it does not deliver results as specified in the FARA. After much discussion, at end of the quarter ended, the BLTP and INRA reached an understanding that a new FARA will be signed with the La Paz office on the condition of the completion previous period results without additional resources.
During the quarter the BLTP made changes in the configuration of its staff in response to the work requirements as the titling documentation moves from one step to the next. The most significant of the changes in BLTP staffing are the replacement of Mr. Jose Luis Delgado with Mr. Rafael Beltran as the BLTP technical manager posted in the Villa Tunari office. While INRA personnel have become technically proficient thanks to Mr. Delgado’s work, management skills are stills inadequate. Mr. Delgado’s work was successfully completed. Mr. Beltran’s mission is to strengthen managerial skills and improve work quality, so that titling documentation are free of errors and thus accelerate the process further. In addition, and to remedy serious quality problems in the documentation of titles, the BLTP hired a team of 5 quality control specialists. Lack of consistency, lack of attention to detail and errors in the documentation of titles are a major cause of delays. These errors are usually caught in the final inspection before the President’s signature and sent back to Cochabamba for correction.
INRA La Paz
As mentioned before, change and capacity development in the La Paz INRA office has proven to be harder to achieve. Despite the commitment of INRA Director, the staff assigned to work with the BLTP continues to resist changing work habits and culture. Working to produce concrete results in specified time schedules is slowly being accepted and only because we have linked producing results to salary payment.
One important step in building INRA’s institutional capacity was the delegation of several functions by the National Office to the Cochabamba Departmental Office. The Departmental office was given the authority to deal directly with the Agrarian Superintendence to obtain land prices. This development speeds up the titling process by cutting down the time it took to go through the Nacional office to obtain the land price determinations required by law.
Plan I and Plan II
As previously explained the FARA contains specific goals for each month of the quarter.
In a linear progression where one step leads to the next, any delays affect all following steps. As we reported in our previous report, the Superintendencia Agraria moved to Santa Cruz and has taken longer than anticipated to start operations. The key ingredient they provide to the process is the value of the property, allowing for the determination of the final resolution after which there is a public presentation of findings — the final step before the issuance of the deed (title).
INRA failed to meet its goal of 25 final resolutions because of errors in the titling documentation and had to start a process to correct them. This particular batch of titles underwent the early stages of ownership verification prior to April 2004. The discovery of errors in the last step of the process highlighted serious quality problems at all levels in INRA. This is a problem that the BLTP is working to correct with the introduction of a quality control unit to make sure no errors are overlooked in any of the steps of the tilting process.
Plan IIb and Plan IV
Plan IIb covers an area of over 12,000 hectares and contains 1,027 properties. This area was added to BLT’s work load so that the target of 5,000 properties and 100,000 hectares could be met.
Because of the geographic proximity of the areas under Plans IIb and IV, we will report progress on both plans jointly in this section.
While some targets were easily exceeded as shown in the table above, others were not met pointing out bottlenecks that need to be resolved. It should also be noted that the later stages of the titling process are the ones falling short of even modest targets. These steps are the responsibility of the La Paz office which resists being held accountable for results they have committed to achieve. The BLTP’s policy is that it will not pay the salaries of INRA staff that fail to meet their targets without a valid explanation. This policy has worked well in the Cochabamba INRA office and we feel confident that it is having an impact in the La Paz office.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 2: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN DERECHOS REALES (DDRR’S) INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY
DDRR (Derechos Reales) currently has the capacity to process large numbers of titles. However, until INRA starts producing significant numbers of titles, BLTP support is limited to maintaining the installed capacity. For this reason the second FARA with DDRR was extended until the end of the year without major modifications. It should be noted that the installed capacity in the DDRR office is not idle. The DDRR office of Sacaba has become a model of efficiency in handling all matters it attends in a vast area that includes the Tropics
On June 25th, INRA delivered 719 property titles in the Chapare. The titles were registered in Derechos Reales and they belong to 22 communities (colonia or sindicato).
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 3: OUTREACH DISSEMINATION PROGRAM
The communication strategy was modified to adapt to the changes in the distribution of tasks among the donors and the fact that the BLTP is now working in new areas, areas that have traditionally been opposed to titling for political reasons. Due to high political sensitivities in the region, BLTP/INRA communications directed to communities and local organizations are mostly carried out community by community. The communications campaign is being implemented by a group of INRA technicians trained by BLTP. In addition, based on results, and to promote more interest in titling in general and in Plan IV in particular, INRA’s outreach and communications unit started a radio campaign in early June to inform the public, on a weekly basis, what INRA is doing, where, and how much was achieved.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN MUNICIPALITIES CAPACITY
No activities were undertaken under this objective. The contract was modified to reflect the fact that under the current legal and institutional framework, municipalities have neither interest nor incentive to set up a rural cadastre, simply because they can not collect taxes from the majority of the rural property owners.
BLTP work in this area will be limited to carrying out an assessment of the legal, institutional and policy frameworks that govern for municipal cadastres and make recommendations. The assessment will start in mid October.