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 changes in INRA’s attitude and willingness to work for results, noted in the previous report, is best reflected in their achievement of targets as specified in the FARAs. All offices involved in the titling process have developed sufficient capacity to meet or exceed most of their targets. Unmet targets were generally due to political decisions and not to performance. These included INRA/Nacional Director’s decision to prioritize titling work in other regions at the expense of the Chapare region, as well as the decision by the President’s Office first to prioritize the signing of titles from Chuquisaca and second to suspend issuing final resolutions as the December Presidential elections approached. The process was also halted for a few weeks in an attempt to force an increase in the salaries of personnel in the President’s Agrarian Affairs Office. This request was denied because it was outside the government salary norms and of the signed FARAs.
An important achievement is the fact that an entire polygon was titled in four months. This time would have been reduced even further in the remaining 22 polygons if the President’s and Director’s offices had not decided to stop processing titles from the Chapare and prioritized other areas in December. It is obvious to every one involved that titles can be processed in a rapid and lower cost manner, if all involved perform their jobs as expected. The highlighting of this fact shows that the Cochabamba office had reached a milestone and established itself as a leader in land titling in Bolivia. The Bolivia Land Titling Project plans to sponsor a national conference where the Cochabamba INRA office can present the rapid and massive titling procedure achieved with USAID support. The plan will be presented to the new administration, as soon as it is possible.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 2: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN DERECHOS REALES (DDRR’S) INSTITUTIONAL CAPACITY
Derechos Reales continues to function well and without problems. It has been able to handle easily the increased title registrations over the quarter.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 3: OUTREACH DISSEMINATION PROGRAM
INRA has been using effectively the low key outreach approach adopted in 2004. Moreover, the results obtained under Plan IV are generating increasing interest and demand for INRA’s services. The speed with which INRA can now title properties is proving to be the most effective outreach program. Producing titles in three months or less seems to be restoring INRA’s credibility and the legalization of property rights. Thanks to the increasing demand for INRA’ services, the mass media communications (spots) are no longer necessary.
The Bolivia Land Titling Project has supported INRA to be present with stands in two regional fairs (Feria del Achiote and Feria Expotropico). The stands emphasized titling progress by graphically showing maps over a period of time. Bolivia Land Titling Project also financed a publication (separata) in the Cochabamba newspaper Los Tiempos, highlighting its achievements in titling over the past year, both in the Chapare and elsewhere in the Department of Cochabamba.
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVE 4: DEVELOP AND STRENGTHEN THE 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 can not collect taxes from the majority of the rural property owners. The Bolivia Land Titling Project task was to carry out an assessment of the legal and institutional frameworks that govern rural cadastre.
An extensive cadastre study was completed by Mr. Jorge Cortes in December of 2005. Mr. Cortes’ detailed report containing the findings of the study was submitted in early January 2006. The study concludes that establishing municipal cadastre is unrealistic and counterproductive because of the chaotic and confused legal and institutional frameworks.