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Civil Society Organizations' dialogue on communal land titling in Peru

Posted by Beate Stalsett Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Written by: Elisa Mandelli

Participants at the event.
©Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra –Perú 2016
15th of November last year, IFAD's Land Tenure team was in Lima, Peru, to participate in a Dialogue on objectives and goals of communal titling programs in Peru. The dialogue was convened by three Civil Society Organizations (CSO) groups: the Pacto de Unidad de los Pueblos Indígenas, the Colectivo Territorios Seguros para las Comunidades del Perú and the Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra, initiated with the support of the International Land Coalition. The event brought together more than 30 representatives from local and international CSOs but also representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, research institutes and development partners such as IFAD and GIZ.

The participants took stock of the current situation of communal land titling in Peru. Over the last few years, the country has experienced an increase in projects and initiatives focusing on land titling. Among these initiatives, the “Proyecto de Catastro, Titulación, Y Registro De Tierras Rurales en el Perú” (PTRT3) implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture through a loan from the World Bank, is currently allocating US$ 15 million to land titling and is covering 10 regions in the Selva area of Peru, namely: Amazonas, Cajamarca, Loreto, San Martin, Huánuco, Ucayali, Junín, Cusco, Apurímac and Puno. The activities of this Project range from the deliverance of individual and communal titles, to the improvement of legal frameworks and the strengthening of instructional and technical capacities at regional and national level.  Other interventions such as the Programa de Inversión Forestal (FIP–PE) funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Joint Declaration of Intent between Norway and Peru aim to support individual and communal land titling, especially within Amazon indigenous communities, as a way to protect forests and foster a sustainable management of natural resources.

The participants acknowledged the substantial contribution of these interventions in protecting biodiversity and strengthening land tenure securities of indigenous peoples’ communities in Peru but also observed a tendency to orient investments towards indigenous peoples’ communities in the Amazon. Many representatives of local CSOs stressed the importance of also taking  into account indigenous peoples and farmers’ communities in other areas of the country, especially the Andean region (Sierra), where large parcels of forest are threatened by extractive activities, forest fires and the expansion of agricultural borders. These communities often have weak tenure rights since they struggle to get their status of either “farmers” (campesinos) or “indigenous” (indigenos or nativos) community recognized and are by consequence less involved into decision-making regarding their territories. 

Representative from the Ministry of Agriculture explains the PTRT3.
©Plataforma para la Gobernanza Responsable de la Tierra –Perú 2016
Participants called for a greater support to territorial and community land delimitation, customary and communal land rights recognition but also to the generation of more sustainable and inclusive models for territorial land and natural resources management.  Moreover, women’s  land  rights has been highlighted as a cross-cutting challenge that needs to be prioritized, in particular with regards to indigenous women who face a double  marginalisation on their access and control over land and decision-making. 
Against this framework, participants agreed on the fact that inclusive and responsible good land governance has a critical role to play.  In this sense, the PTRT3 has created a dedicated entity for rural land titling within the Ministry of Agriculture, the DISPACR (Dirección de Saneamiento de la Propiedad Agraria y Catastro Rural) filling an institutional void in the coordination of rural land tenure issues. Moreover, the PTRT3 has created a working group for civil society consultation and advisory, a positive experience that many participants described as a potential model to enhance inclusive and participatory land governance in the country. 

This dialogue and the exchange with local CSOs and development partners has allowed IFAD and its country office to get to know better the socio-political context of land governance in Peru and to identify potential synergies with IFAD-funded programmes and projects in the country and the Andean Sub-region. 

In particular, there is the potential for IFAD to bring in its experience in supporting land tenure measures enabling inclusive and sustainable territorial management such as land use planning, community by-laws, customary certificates and others. These type of measures have often proven to be more effective and less controversial than titling to address land tenure security of poor rural communities, and allow to link territorial management of land and natural resources with improved rural productivity..

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