Tetra Tech is helping the Government of Colombia (GOC) resolve complex land issues in support of lasting peace in the country.

Thriving democracies have high-functioning land governance systems that guarantee land rights for their citizens. As part of USAID’s effort to promote lasting peace in Colombia, proper and legal land titling and documentation are crucial. Through the Land and Rural Development Project (LRDP), funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Tetra Tech is working with the GOC to improve regional and national government capacity to restitute lands to victims of conflict and improve government institutions’ ability to formalize rural property rights and allocate public lands. In addition, we are building capacity at the regional and national levels to mobilize and deliver resources for public goods and improve information available used to deliver land rights services.

To achieve these goals, Tetra Tech is mobilizing public and private sector funds for rural development to help farmers and rural families. We are assisting local government officials to strengthen their ability to establish more public-private partnerships (PPPs) to expand the amount of public and private spending in underserved regions. In addition, our efforts are focused on providing a large-scale land titling approach that reduces the average time and cost of securing land rights and expands coverage. The Tetra Tech team also is working with the GOC and its Land Restitution Unit to accelerate the processing of restitution cases and improve the quality and accessibility of information to expedite land processes through the digitizing of millions of land files.

Through the project team’s assistance to streamline policies and procedures, the GOC has improved land access for the rural poor. To help reshape the GOC’s approach to land restitution, Tetra Tech developed, piloted, and launched Land Node, an innovative and original information-sharing platform. This program ensures land right information is more secure, accessible, and reliable. To date, this project has resulted in the digitization of 1.5 million land files, including more than half a million property registration files. Because the files were previously available only on paper, they were particularly vulnerable to quality and accuracy issues, which posed questions of validity when using the files to resolve disputes. The digitization through the Land Node tool has eliminated this issue for current and future land files.

LRDP has successfully signed four new PPPs in support of various value chains for raw sugarcane, specialty coffee, ñame, and cacao. These PPPs helped support communities in Cesar, Montes de María, and Meta to increase their income and productivity, ultimately improving the livelihood of these rural families. In addition, in Cesar, the project team completed studies and designs to rehabilitate 8 small-scale irrigation districts, which will benefit 462 local families who farm 656 hectares.

LRDP has directly supported more than 2,000 restitution cases, including cases of individuals, ethnic groups, and vulnerable secondary occupants, or current occupants of land being claimed by others.