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
The presidential elections and subsequent transition to the Morales administration have affected implementation. BLTP activities were first affected by former President Rodriguez’s decision to stop signing titles two weeks prior to the elections and then by the outgoing INRA director’s order to freeze all hiring. The completion of about 1,000 titles was delayed until early January when the President started signing titles again. As a result of the INRA director’s order, BLTP was forced to postpone contracting INRA personnel under the FARA scheduled to start in January 2006. Nevertheless, the BLTP successfully lobbied INRA National executives for an exception to this directive, which was granted on January 12.
Additionally, the resignation of the INRA Cochabamba director, with whom BLTP had established a good working relationship, and the transition of Mr. Howard Arroyo, who had previously worked as INRA’s coordinator with the BLTP project as the new leader at the end of 2006 disrupted momentum. The leadership changes caused delays in meeting some of the project’s targets for the quarter.
Moreover, after the January 22nd inauguration of the Morales government, rumors of an imminent purge by the yet to-be-named new INRA director paralyzed all coordination and planning meetings for the new FARA. Fernando Salazar was named INRA director in March. BLTP met with the new director on April 1st, and to everyone’s surprise Mr. Salazar expressed keen interest in continuing all BLTP related activities. A new FARA extending from May until July was negotiated and approved.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 2: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN DERECHOS REALES (DDRR’S) INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY
Derechos Reales continues to function well and without problems. Because of the delay in getting titles of the Presidents office, the volume of work for the quarter was low.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 3: OUTREACH DISSEMINATION PROGRAM
A communications specialist was contracted to produce and disseminate information about the accomplishments of INRA Cochabamba and to help with the preparation of the final report. The two brochures produced during the quarter focused on highlighting INRA successes both in the delivery of titles and the change in work culture experienced among the staff contracted with BLTP funds and working in the field under difficult conditions.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN MUNICIPALITIES CAPACITY
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 cannot collect taxes from the majority of the rural property owners. The BLTP was to carry out an assessment of the legal and institutional frameworks that govern rural cadastre.
The Cadastre assessment, which was completed last year, provides a thorough analysis of the fragmented, disorganized and chaotic legal and institutional frameworks for rural cadastre. The study emphasizes that until the legal and institutional frameworks are reformed, attempting municipal cadastres that include rural areas, may not be a cost effective use of financial resources.
During this quarter, the mayor of Villa Tunari requested GIS training for technical personal in the Land Planning (ordenamiento territorial) Department. Land use plans have been carried out by previous projects and are being used in this municipality.