The module 3 corresponds to the level of intervention of subnational entities, i.e. Municipal Districts and Indigenous Communities and Territories (ICT) where LAPs seek to promote multipurpose land administration systems.

Module 3: LAPs and Subnational Entities

Expected impacts at subnational entity level

At municipality level

In Central America, one of the main proposals of LAPs is to transform the fragmented land administration system into a single national system combining data generated and updated by the relevant institutions via an IT platform, allowing all users (individuals or institutions) to consult them in an integrated manner.

The first aim in the short and medium term is to improve land administration services and increase municipal tax receipts. This is in order to increase the investment capabilities of municipal governments in land administration services and other public services such as water, sanitation and infrastructure. Secondly, LAPs aim to generate transparent budget management processes by training staff and collecting and updating information. Thirdly, LAPs aim to support access to cartographic information and cadastral updating in order to generate multiuse cadastres for the purpose, in addition to raising taxes, of using the cadastre for territorial planning and zoning processes, for infrastructure development and planning, and for establishing the cadastral value of parcels. Finally, LAPs aim to have parallel impacts by identification of municipal competences and space, and support for resolving disputes over municipal boundaries.

As regards long-term impacts, LAPs seek to strengthen security and legal certainty of tenure, increase access to municipal services, increase user satisfaction with LAS, and support dispute resolution between private individuals.

At Indigenous Communities and Territories (ICT) level

In Latin America, processes of restoring and strengthening land rights to indigenous territories have received special attention since the 1980s, in particular in Brazilian Amazonia, in the lowlands of Bolivia1 and more recently in Miskito territories in Honduras and Nicaragua. These reforms have been established through various methods of recognizing tenure rights to land and natural resources, which have favoured collective rights over individual ownership. These processes have in turn helped to strengthen the decentralization of forest management policies, encouraging the participation of communities and other local players in decision making.

Within the national policy framework of recognition of land tenure rights of ICT, LAPs in Central America have participated in demarcation, titling and other processes in the recognition of collective tenure of land and natural resources, particularly in Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama and Guatemala: support for territorial planning in Honduras; methodological support and funding for demarcation of macro-areas; risk areas, and regulation of natural resource use.

According to the degree of increasing incidence, the expected results of these actions are the following:

  1. Demarcation of territories with forms of recognition and protection.
  2. Recognition of communal management or of a special form of land administration (registration of communal lands in Guatemala) and collective tenure.
  3. A form of titling collective rights.

Regardless of the degree of incidence of LAPs in each country, the main expected impacts of intervention on ICT are:

  • Greater security and legal certainty of tenure.
  • Recognition of the communal and/or collective management of land and natural resources.
  • Strengthening of internal mechanisms for the administration of land and natural resources.
  • Reduction in land tenure disputes, in particular with neighbouring owners or communities.
  • Access to new types of technical support, social and funding programmes as a result of having greater recognition of tenure rights.


1 Pacheco, P. & al. (2012).