The Multipurpose Cadaster will become a reality with the financial support of the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank

©Patrick Zachmann/Magnum Photos / FAO

In late 2018, the National Council for Economic and Social Policy (Consejo Nacional de Política Económica y Social (CONPES) in Spanish), through Document CONPES 3951/18, authorized the Government of Colombia to carry out two credit operations, one with the World Bank (WB) for 100 million dollars and another with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for 50 million dollars. The purpose of these operations is to implement the Multipurpose Cadaster by carrying out in selected municipalities a systematic, updated and permanent inventory of the physical, legal, economic and social information of the land holding, consistent with the property registration system. The FAO Investment Centre participated in the design of the project and is now providing technical assistance in different topics. 

The total area of Colombia is 114 million hectares, and according to Agustín Codazzi Geographical Institute (Instituto Geográfico Agustín Codazzi (IGAC) in Spanish) there are around 17 million parcels in the Country, 3.3 million of them are located in rural areas. The Superintendency of Notaries and Registry (La Superintendencia de Notariado y Registro (SNR) in Spanish) estimates that 39% of the surface is located in productive areas of private tenure, 4% belong to communal lands of Afro-descendant peoples, 29% to communities of 106 indigenous peoples, 13% are National Natural Parks and 15% do not have any information about the property. According to World Bank data, the Gini index of land distribution is 0.85, suggesting that property inequality remains high compared to international standards (80% of the land is owned by 10% of the landholder). The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) indicates, in the last quarter of the century, the growth rate of the Colombian agricultural sector was much lower than those of other Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru, and below the average for Latin America.

The National Council for Economic and Social Policy (CONPES), (see CONPES 3958/2019) indicates the cadaster does not yet have efficient updating procedures. The cadastral information covering around 66% of the national territory is outdated, data is lacking on a further 28% of the territory and there is no integration or interoperability between cadaster and the registry, nor with other sources of geospatial information. The latter represents one of the main obstacles to changing to a multipurpose cadaster. If this situation continues, many aspects would be compromised such as the legal security of thousands of properties, the formalization of social property programs led by the National Land Agency (Agencia Nacional de Tierras, (ANT) in Spanish), the efficiency of the real estate market, and the generation of capacities and instruments for an adequate prioritization and allocation of public investments. In addition, having a multipurpose cadaster would boost progress towards meeting international standards of good practice as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure.  

On the other hand, the agreement signed between the National Government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) in Spanish), in November 2016, identified the cadaster as an essential tool for the development of the Integral Rural Reform, in particular, point 1.1. 9 of that agreement on the “development and updating of the cadaster and rural property tax”.

The goals of the WB and IDB loans focus on updating 1.5 million hectares in 72 municipalities, which would be equivalent to approximately 170,000 properties, as well as assigning 56,000 new property deeds and granting rural women at least 40% of them. In parallel with other sources of financing, including the municipalities themselves, the Government will be covering the rest of the territory in such a way that, by 2025, the entire country would have updated cadastral information and processes of massive formalization of rural-urban property. To this effect, differentiated routes will be put into place depending on the institutional and financial capacities of the municipalities in order to assume their own cadastral management. 

The credit operations will mainly finance the structural changes required to strengthen, institutionally and technologically, the IGAC, SNR and ANT, in coordination with the National Planning Department (Departamento Nacional de Planeación, (DNP) in Spanish).

The Colombia Multipurpose Cadaster has learned from lessons of pilot exercises carried out in the country as well as from international experiences. The main approaches of the Colombia Multipurpose Cadaster are: 

  • Promote greater articulation of national land administration entities, in particular IGAC, SNR and ANT, in the processes of support to territorial entities in cadastral matters and property formalization.
  • Review and adjust the technical specifications for the cadastral survey, property formalization and validation of the information collected in the field in order to simplify the procedures, as well as redefine the standards and technical specifications of the product.
  • Promote participatory processes at different levels, to adequately involve stakeholders in the cadastral process, facilitating field work and thus creating a greater sense of ownership among communitties and territories. To this end, it is necessary to consider different methodologies  that are applicable according to the characteristics of the municipalities and the local stakeholders (eg ethnic groups, protected areas, cadaster of public goods, among others).
  • Adjust the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) to the Colombian context, which will allow to have a standard for structuring and exchanging geospatial information.
  • Implement the Unique Registry Property Number (Número Único Predial Registral (NUPRE) in Spanish) that will allow stakeholders to identify the properties within the cadastral information systems and in the registry information system, which is a first step towards the proper articulation and cadaster-registry integration.