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INTERVIEW: Land Rights and Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia

Daniel Maree's picture

In this exclusive interview with Senior Social Development Specialist Elena Correa, we discuss the results and lessons-learned from the project on Protection of Land and Patrimony of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Colombia. To read the background paper on the workshop click here.

Alec Wescott contributed to this post.

 © Charlotte Kesl / World Bank 
   © Charlotte Kesl / World Bank  

 Q. Since its inception in 2002, your focus has developed from “land protection” to “land titling” and “land restitution”. What is the difference between the two strategies, and what prompted the change?

A. Land rights protection was the starting point for the project because of the large number of population displaced. However, land right protection is not enough to diminish the risk of impoverishment of IDPs as was established as the main objective of the project.  According to the circumstances and the evolution of the project, land titling was incorporated to formalize these land rights of IDPs who do not have legal titles.

Land restitution was included in the project as a result of the enactment of the Justice and Peace Law in 2005. Land restitution is the ultimate goal in the protection of land that has been lost due to displacement. The project had gathered information since its start in 2003 that could be built on to achieve land restitution.  This is a good example of new emerging legislation and how the project adapted itself to the opportunities provided by this law.

Opinion polls, priorities, and leadership

Nicholas van Praag's picture
     Interpreting their parents' concerns.  Photo © Curt Carnemark / World Bank

Polls matter to political leaders because they reflect public sentiment about what is important and what is not.  They are no crystal ball, however, and can be interpreted and acted upon in very different ways.  President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, who will step down later this month, used polling data in his first term to justify a decisive break with past policies.  It is an interesting example for the WDR team as we look at how leaders in conflict-affected states prioritize policy actions and the extent to which they do so by listening to the people.

By 2002, after years of zero growth and declining living standards, Colombia's institutions were under increasing pressure from the narco-clans, the militia and the FARC.

With presidential elections in the offing, polls showed the country was almost equally divided between those who wanted more focus on social programming and poverty alleviation and those who thought the government needed to get tough and crack down on violence.

Speaking Out About Conflict—Part 2

Natalia Cieslik's picture

During a recent WDR 2011 consultations event we interviewed leaders from conflict-affected countries about overcoming conflict, building institutions, confidence building, and the role of the international community.

Watch and listen to what Habiba Sarabi, Governor of Bamyan Province in Afghanistan, Emilia Pires, Finance Minister in Timor Leste, Oscar Santamaria, Former Peace Negotiator and Minister of Justice and Foreign Affairs in El Salvador, and Juan Carlos Pinzon, Former Vice-Minister of Defense in Colombia, have to say.