Nicaragua Land Administration Project Phase II – Strengthening Nicaragua’s land governance and property rights to enhance tenure security

Areas covered by PRODEP I and PRODEP II

The year 2020 marked the completion and closure of the second implementation phase of the World Bank-financed Land Administration Project in Nicaragua (PRODEP II, 2013-2020). It also marked two decades of sustained financial and technical support from the World Bank,  FAO Investment Centre (CFI), and recently its Knowledge for Investment (K4I) initiative to help the Government of Nicaragua strengthen collective and individual land tenure rights; modernize and decentralize land administration institutions and evaluate the outcomes. PRODEP aims to strengthen land governance and property rights, to ultimately enhance tenure security, focusing particularly on poor and vulnerable populations, gender equity, and historical land claims of Indigenous peoples.

The first phase of PRODEP was launched in 2002, partially funded by the World Bank through a US$ 54 million IDA loan (2002-2013). Based on its successful implementation, a second US$ 40 million IDA loan was approved to implement the Second Land Administration Project (PRODEP II), which was launched in 2013 and finalized at the end of 2020. The World Bank’s PRODEP II final evaluation (ICR), supported by the contributions and expertise of the CFI and ESA (FAO Agrifood Economic Division) among others, sheds light on the highly efficient outcomes. The 2020 general project evaluation of PRODEP II was highly positive, particularly in terms of efficiency, cost-benefit, and overall intended impacts.

The resulting major achievement from this decade-long programmatic strategy is the consolidation of land administration framework and institutions in the targeted areas at a national and municipal level. As a result, the population’s property rights were strengthened through improved regularization, titling and registry services, thus benefiting 121,000 smallholders with new titles, of which 52% are women, who have been benefitted either individually or jointly with their spouses. Five protected areas were successfully demarcated and geo-referenced, and the new National Integrated Cadastre-Registry Information System was completed and implemented in Managua and Estelí, two of the most important provinces for Nicaragua's economy. Additionally, two complementary areas of the indigenous territories in the Bosawas Reserve located in Jinotega, were demarcated and titled.

In addition, the FAO CFI-ESA, with the support of the Executive Secretary of PRODEP II and the World Bank, carried out a comprehensive impact evaluation with the aim to produce more rigorous evidence on the combined effects of systematic titling, as well as the modernization of Land Institutions and Land Information Systems. The evaluation is based on a sample of 1,014 land parcels (PRODEP Phase I and II) collected through an ad-hoc household survey in three departments during 2020. The main findings of this exercise indicate that PRODEP has significantly contributed to an increase perception in land tenure security and an increase perception in land and asset value. Despite promising results and a high level of beneficiary satisfaction, the impact evaluation related to the effects of titling on smallholder livelihood suggests that PRODEP should be seen as only one pillar in a dedicated strategy to reduce poverty by increasing the value of the assets of the poor and enhancing local economic growth. Coverage of other programmes, including social protection, housing support and agricultural livelihood support will need to be strengthened in the future, and implemented in such a way that enables more synergies and joint impact with land tenure formalization. The impact evaluation has been published as part of the FAO Agricultural Development Economics series (refer to this link to download a copy of the Working Paper, and to this link to access the Policy Brief)