Land rights for indigenous people and colonists in Colombia

Among the most difficult land conflicts are those between indigenous communities and third parties such as farmers or companies. The number of people with customary rights is relatively small and diminishing worldwide. Still, the areas covered by customary rights are vast, for instance, nearly 30% of Colombia´s territory.

These areas are often under pressure from the rising global demand for natural resources. As a result: conflict and debate rise about land rights. 

Showcase for the multitude of diffuse and disputed boundaries

Together with the Colombian Government, Kadaster applied Fit-for-Purpose (FFP) land administration to the disputed area between the indigenous reserve Santa Teresita del Tuparro  and its neighbouring colonist farms. After socialisation meetings with the people involved, the land users started collecting field data. The collected field data showed considerable overlapping land claims. Nevertheless, the discussion during the public inspection about the occurrence of those different mapping realities was harmonious. This pilot may serve as a showcase for the multitude of diffuse and disputed boundaries between indigenous reserves and colonist farm land in Colombia and elsewhere.


This article was published in Abroad edition December 2019.
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