Thriving democracies have high-functioning land governance systems that guarantee land rights for their citizens. Through the Land and Rural Development Project (LRDP), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tetra Tech is helping improve Colombia’s land governance structures to give rural citizens the tool they need to improve their livelihoods: land.

The consequences of land insecurity in Colombia are:

  • Conflict—The country’s 50-year war has been fueled by land and resource inequities in rural areas
  • Low agricultural productivity—Land insecurity inhibits public and private sector investments and prevents farmers from reaching their agricultural potential, generating livable incomes, and escaping poverty
  • Environmental degradation—Communities that do not feel secure in their land ownership are not incentivized to sustainably manage natural resources for the long term, which damages the environment
  • Lack of confidence in government—Land insecurity in rural areas has driven many to question the authority of the state and seek protection of their assets from illegal armed groups

LRDP is a five-year project that addresses the land-based drivers of conflict, poverty, and environmental degradation. LRDP strengthens institutions—the foundation of effective land governance—by streamlining policies and procedures that will improve land access for the rural poor. The program supports the Government of Colombia to:

  • Redistribute state-owned farmland to poor families, increasing agricultural production and economic growth in line with mandates in the Havana Peace Accords
  • Increase public spending on rural development to help farmers and rural families increase agricultural production, reduce poverty, and earn a livable wage
  • Promote reconciliation and ensure peace by bringing displaced victims of conflict back to their land through restitution
  • Provide legal representation to the country’s most vulnerable restitution claimants—including secondary occupants—to ensure additional displacement of families does not occur, which could ignite a new generation of conflict
  • Formalize land rights to protect the environment and improve livelihoods for rural citizens with a focus on protecting the rights of vulnerable groups, such as women, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous populations, who have been disproportionately impacted by Colombia’s conflict
  • Improve quantity, quality, and accessibility of land information, which is the foundation of sound land administration, to make land restitution and formalization faster and cheaper

For more information, read our success story and monthly highlights: