Tetra Tech is helping the Government of Colombia (GOC) resolve land and property issues, contributing to lasting peace and stimulating rural development to improve livelihoods.

Weak administration in Colombia in recent decades has led to widespread informality of land tenure and property rights, as well as underuse and misuse of land. Land tenure informality is a contributor to illicit crop cultivation and economic insecurity. As much as 60 percent of Colombia’s rural population, representing 6.8 million people and more than 2 million parcels of land, suffers from insecure land rights. After 50 years of civil war, Colombia signed a peace accord in 2016. Nearly 6 million people were displaced from their homes and land, and many rural communities were, and still are, affected by this conflict.

Tetra Tech is implementing the Land for Prosperity (LFP) Activity, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to improve the conditions of rural conflict-affected households and achieve resilient and licit economic development through strategic land-related activities. LFP focus areas include:

  • Providing mass access to land titles
  • Supporting land titling policy refinement
  • Strengthening local government capacity
  • Bolstering licit socioeconomic opportunities in targeted areas

LFP follows USAID’s Land and Rural Development Project (LRDP), also implemented by Tetra Tech, adopting lessons learned and best practices, including the first parcel sweep methodology used to implement mass land formalization. These lessons and practices set the foundation for LFP’s approach to targeting new regions and accounting for unique security, cultural, and contextual issues.

Through LFP, Tetra Tech is implementing land-related activities under three core components:
Component 1: Advance mass land titling in rural areas along with continued restitution support.

Rural transformation and development require clear land tenure and secured property rights. To support the transition to peaceful, licit economies, Tetra Tech is building capacity and demonstrating methods for updating multipurpose land cadasters and securing formalized land rights, productive assets, and access to the services needed to sustain licit livelihoods.

Component 2: Strengthen local capacity to maintain formalized land transactions.

Sustaining land formalization depends on the GOC and the capacity of local authorities and stakeholders to keep land market transactions formal through proper documentation and registration. Through LFP, Tetra Tech is helping to facilitate transparent and clear property rights and make digitized land information more accessible, aimed at streamlining land management and governance.

Component 3: Strengthen land governance and economic development through strategic Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

In order to shift rural areas to licit economies, and thereby reduce the expansion of illegal activities, LFP supports necessary social and economic conditions along with clear land tenure and property rights. These conditions include improved capacity of regional governments to mobilize funds in public goods and services through strategic alliances in target territories.

In addition to working with the GOC, Tetra Tech is partnering with regional and local governments, the private sector, and community members to sustainably improve the conditions of conflict-affected rural households in Colombia. Specifically, we have established contracting agreements with several small business partners—both international and local—including KANAVA International, Suyo, and Ocampo Duque, among others. We also work with the GOC to continually examine, test, and improve public policy in land use and land administration.

LFP places a special focus on empowering women, ethnic minorities, youth, and other vulnerable groups across the conflict-affected regions of Southern Tolima, Montes de María, Meta, Catatumbo, Tumaco, Northern Cauca, and Bajo Cauca.

During the first year of implementation, LFP:

  • Advanced mass land formalization to deliver 444 land titles in Ovejas and Sucre
  • Initiated the process of acquiring necessary imagery for titling in Ataco and Cáceres
  • Supported 27 municipalities in seven target territories in developing and including Municipal Land Office strategies in their development plans
  • Began preliminary activities to reactivate PPPs formed under LRDP, with the objective of establishing 25 PPPs by 2024