Land Tenure Informality in Rural Colombia

Authors: German Zarama and David Varela – study coordinated by Kevin Barthel

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A Brief Analysis of the Use of Alternative Dispute Resolution to Support the Formalization of Rural Land

Colombia-ADRColombia faces a significant problem of land tenure informality and insecurity of property rights as it seeks to turn back the social and economic damage resulting from decades of armed conflict and build a basis for equitable and sustainable rural development.

The causes of informality and insecurity in rural Colombia are both socially diverse and legally complex. Prominent among these causes are the difficulties of accessing land for productive use, the widespread dispossession and abandonment of land caused by the civil unrest, a limited institutional presence and the inadequate technical and administrative capacity of land governance institutions, overly complex and inaccessible legal frameworks and a general lack of knowledge among the rural population.

This summary document provides an overview of a comprehensive diagnostic of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) related to formalization of land tenure in rural Colombia which was prepared by the Land Alliance in May and June of 2015. The summary provides an overview of the current legal framework and jurisprudence for ADR, a general characterization of the typical types of land conflict found in rural Colombia and a general description of how ADR has been use and concludes with a description of relevant international experiences.