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Corresponds to the proposed methodology of the tool and the experience of LAP in Latin America and particularly Central America.

Module 1: Proposed Methodology and Experience of LAPs in Latin America

How LAPs started

Land Administration Programmes (LAPs) in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region are particularly important as regards the economic processes of privatization and opening up to the market. The premise of having an efficient, transparent land market prompted the decision to try to resolve the informality of land rights, a common feature in a large number of Latin American countries. In addition, the premise that the title deed almost automatically allowed access to credit and that increasing the value of the land was seen as a key factor in reducing poverty both contributed to the emergence of Latin American LAPs in the late twentieth century. In Central America land disputes and informality of rights, legacies of the civil wars of the 1970s and 1980s, and the implementation of Peace Agreements were additional reasons for the emergence of LAPs, especially in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala (see the emergence of LAPs in Central America).

How LAPs are organized

Over the last 25 years international cooperation agencies such as the World Bank, IDB, FAO and other international bilateral technical cooperation agencies have provided financial and technical aid to national governments to improve and modernize land administration systems. From Guatemala to Panama, all the Central American countries have developed long-term investment projects, and they can therefore be considered true programmes. The Land Administration Programmes (LAP) supported by the World Bank, IDB and other cooperation agencies in Central America usually began as pilot projects comprising 3 phases of 5 or 6 years each, funded by loans extended for a further one or two years in some cases, covering a total intervention period of 18 to 20 years. These LAPs have four intervention levels: I) changes to national regulatory and legal frameworks, II) strengthening land administration institutions and associated bodies (Ministry of the Environment, Court of Justice, etc.), III) strengthening subnational entities to manage the cadastre and territorial definition processes, such as municipal districts, protected areas or indigenous territories, and IV) processes for ownership regularization and dispute resolution in favour of families and communities.

The need for a common evaluation framework

The implementation of LAPs in Central America has achieved major progress in strengthening land administration services, which has encouraged their expansion in almost all the countries where they have started. There is currently, however, a lack of clarity about the scope of key results and impacts obtained by LAPs. Except in some phases of the projects, such as LAP I in El Salvador and LAP I in Guatemala, no analyses are available to identify which of the approaches used to implement them have been most effective, and under which conditions they have been most efficient. This situation is partly due to a lack of clarity in defining the objectives of LAPs during their formulation in the early years of implementation, and above all to the lack of a baseline incorporating the value of the key indicators chosen during project design, to measure their impacts at the various intervention levels.

The lack of a clear definition of evaluation methods, which have changed over time, and the various phases of LAPs, has similarly been an obstacle to measuring the impacts of projects. Experience has shown that regularization of rights combined with the correct working and efficiency of LA services requires slow, progressive processes. The sustainability of such efficiency and the correct working of services is a key condition which must be considered at the design phase of LAPs. In this respect, relying on a sound monitoring and evaluation system allows the necessary adjustments to be made between one phase and the next, as well as creating awareness of the costs this will represent for the national government in gradually taking on responsibility for the implementation of the tasks performed by the LAP.