Transformemos Territorios Construyendo Paz

Project completed

Strenghtening local communities and public officials’ capacities to manage conflicts over land and territories in seven departments in Colombia

SDC has supported the implementation of Land Restitution Policy throughout institutional strengthening and context analysis by applying situational approach. Due to the land restitution process’ ongoing challenges and the requirements of the Peace Agreement (with FARC), the partners have identified the necessity to work directly with rural communities and territorial authorities to develop their capacities to manage conflicts over land, and integrate into the strategy articulated actions between the local population, the authorities and the academy for the land policy’s future in Colombia. 

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Conflict & fragility
Conflict prevention
Public sector policy
Legal and judicial development
15.07.2017 - 31.12.2020
CHF  1’560’000
Background After the subscription of the Peace Agreement, Colombia has engaged with a new holistic comprehension of conflicts over land and territories, which has led to the identification of at least 6 substantial strategies, completely relevant to the effective management of structural solutions for those conflicts. Among those strategies, land restitution is still one of the primary subjects in the political agenda; it has already made an important contribution to the victims of forced displacement in the country. However is not the only task on the ongoing challenges for Colombia’s conflicts over land and territories. According to the Peace Agreement, the country faces the possibility to build long lasting solutions, mainly through: (i) the distribution of land; (ii) the formalization of rural property; (iii) the establishment of an agrarian jurisdiction; (iv) the strengthening of alternative mechanisms to manage conflict over lands; (v) the participatory building process of territorial planning; and (vi) the continuity of the restitution processes.   
More importantly, those strategies need aware communities, local representatives, and strong and capable institutions (at the local, regional and national level), working together to achieve the same objective: “making the country-side a peace-full scenario for rural population”. That is why on the one hand the social sectors have been taking a bigger role in the management of conflicts, and on the other, the Colombian Government has created a whole new institutional set-up to manage those challenges. So, currently Land Restitution Unit (LRU) is not the only one called to step forward to accomplish solutions for the conflicts over land and territories; now it must be also supported by Land National Agency (LNA), Rural Development Agency (RDA), and Renovation of Territories Agency (RTA). All those institutions need also the accompaniment of the Procurator-General Office (Procuraduría General de la Nación), particularly its Lands Office, and the Ombudsman Office of Colombia, mainly because of their national jurisdiction on human rights issues.
So, the distinctive feature nowadays, in the building process of solutions to the conflicts over land and territories, is the accentuated role of regional and local sectors. The participation of rural communities, non-governmental organizations, and territorial authorities is more than relevant, specially to make strong advances on the new strategies for land policy in Colombia, and the new institutions.    
Objectives To advance in the management of sustainable solutions to the conflicts over land and territories in seven departments in Colombia, as a contribution to the social, environmental and participatory territorial planning.
Target groups

400 representatives of rural communities, from the 7 chosen departments. 280 of them will be men, and the remaining 120 will be women. All of them participate as leaders of small scale farmers associations, victims’ associations and secondary occupant’s organizations, developing strategies to protect their rights over land and territories.

330 public officials, distributed as follows: 140 territorial and ethnic authorities, from the 7 chosen departments; 90 members of the Procurator Lands Office and the Ombudsman Office, acting in the territories; 50 judges from the Special Jurisdiction of Land Restitution, making decisions on conflicts over land cases; 50 members of the competent institutions on land issues (LRU, LNA, RDA and RTA), making decisions on land policy. 

(Geographical focus to be defined with public entities)

*Disaggregated data would be obtained by the base line (first trimester).

Medium-term outcomes

Outcome 1: 400 rural leaders manage 20 strategic cases throughout the legal mechanisms (administrative and judicial) to manage conflicts over land and territories, using the “Do No Harm” approach.

Outcome 2: 330 public officials, supported by the Project, design and implement 7 strategies to manage articulately conflicts over land and territories, and develop one methodology to monitor the enforcement of restitution rulings.

Outcome 3: Communities and public officials document and manage – preventively – specific cases of conflicts over land and territories throughout Local Observatories and “Dialogue Spaces”, using a “Communication for Development” approach.

Outcome 4: The Procurator-General Office assure a better standard and quality of intervention in the management of conflicts over land, in favour of the effective protection of plaintiffs, throughout a whole new internal training system, on territorial rights, for their public officials.

Outcome 5: The Project’s partners assess the enforcement of judgements ruled under the “Do No Harm” approach, in “post-ruling” and restitution phases, to evaluate its contribution for the enjoyment of the “right to restitution”, and advocate for official answers in those cases that have not achieved that guarantee.

(Geographical focus to be defined with public entities).



Expected results:  

Key outputs

Output 2: Rural communities increase their knowledge and use the available mechanisms to manage 20 cases of conflicts over land and territories, among which, at least 1 would be developed under the ethnic perspective.

Output 4: The competent public officials, involved in the implementation of Land Public Policy (LRU, LNA, RDA, RTA), as well the territorial authorities, access to analysis tools (Situational Analysis Tool and others) and mechanisms to manage conflicts over land and territories, and exchange experiences to develop 3 regional intervention strategies. 

Output 5: Members of public institutions, guaranteeing human rights (Ombudsman Office and Procurator Lands Office), increase their knowledge and ability to straighten alliances and display articulated efforts, in order to oversight the mechanisms to manage/transform conflicts over land and territories, and participate in the building process of solutions, in 4 strategic cases. 

Output 6: Restitution Judges debate on concrete problems over the monitoring process of restitution rulings and the enforcement of sentences (post-ruling), and create one practical methodology for this purpose.   

Output 9: The national and local team works with a Communication for Development Strategy to disseminate periodically the project’s advances.

Results from previous phases:  


-Incorporation of the “Situational Analysis Tool” (Herramienta de Análisis Situacional) as a mandatory step into the phase of “micro-focalization”, which means the context analysis has become mandatory before the definition of places that could be included in the restitution procedures.

-Implementation of the training process for judges belonging to different transitional jurisdictions, that allowed them identify the common obstacles and difficulties they face to manage conflict over lands so that they are able to introduce key elements in the rulings.
-Development of a collective analysis, among the SNARIV’s institutions, about the impact of their activity, and production of a compiled set of recommendations to pursue their work within the “Do No Harm” approach.    

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Humanitarian aid
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution
  • Central State of South East
  • Contract partners: (1) Centro de Estudios Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad (DeJusticia); (2) Programa de Iniciativas Universitarias para la Paz y la Convivencia (PIUPC), from Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal); (3) Land Restitution Unit (LRU) – Unidad de Restitución de Tierras (URT); (4) Procurator–General Office – Procuraduría General de la Nación.

Other partners
(1) MAPP-OEA; (2) High Commissioner for Peace (HCP) – Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz (OACP); (3) Presidential Council for Human Rights (PCHR) – Consejería Presidencial para los Derechos Humanos (CPDDHH); (4) Other partners from the international cooperation sector.
Coordination with other projects and actors (1) Territorial entities/authorities (Mayors, Governors and Ethnic Authorities); (2) Local Universities; (3) Ombudsman Office of Colombia – Defensoría Nacional del Pueblo; (4) Land National Agency (LNA) – Agencia Nacional de Tierras (ANT); (5) Rural Development Agency (RDA) – Agencia de Desarrollo Rural (ADR); (6) Renovation of Territories Agency (RTA) – Agencia de Renovación del Territorio (ART); (7) Higher Council of the Judiciary (HCJ) – Consejo Superior de la Judicatura (CSJ); (8) Special Jurisdiction for Land Restitution.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’560’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    1’520’413
Project phases

Phase 4 15.07.2017 - 31.12.2020   (Completed)

Phase 2 15.05.2014 - 31.10.2016   (Completed) Phase 1 01.01.2012 - 31.05.2016   (Completed)