Insecure land and property rights and weak state presence in rural areas are root causes of conflict in Colombia. With the recent passage of the Victims and Land Restitution Law in 2011, the Government of Colombia (GOC) is now financing a comprehensive reparations program for victims and displaced landowners through the expansion of infrastructure and public services in rural areas. This will require unprecedented inter-institutional coordination between GOC agencies. The focus is now on the Agustin Codazzi Geographical Institute (IGAC) and the Superintendent of Registry and Notary (SNR) because the national rural cadaster is only 50% up to date and there are significant differences in land data of the two different entities. IGAC is in charge of maintaining the official national cadaster while the SNR is the public registry of titles and land transactions. IGAC’s lack of collaboration has been identified as the main constraint by all GOC entities working on land restitution, formalization, and rural development. 40% of claimant cases for restitution is not identified in the cadaster increasing the cost of claim processing in many cases more than the value of the land in question.
USAID’s Land & Rural Development Program is helping to build the capacity of GOC institutions to implement programs to restitute land to victims of conflict, extend land titling and property formalization in prioritized rural areas, and promote comprehensive rural development that enables citizens to make productive and sustainable use of their land. Of paramount importance is facilitating inter-agency national and regional coordination in order to remove procedural bottlenecks and constraints for the effective implementation of an integral land policy.
Under new management and with a new institutional approach, LRDP’s invitation for collaborative participation has been key to heightened IGAC willingness to actively support restitution and formalization processes. IGAC is embracing their new mandate to create a multifunctional cadaster for land policy and has revealed a commitment to update the rural cadaster in an innovative, expeditious and articulated fashion.