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Land and Resource Rights

Dedicated to fostering greater stability, investment, and access to opportunity for poor and marginalized people, Chemonics promotes strong resource and land rights.

In 2013, Chemonics sponsored the Devex Land Matters campaign, which highlighted innovative solutions to land issues surrounding food security, women, the environment, economic development, conflict resolution, and transparency.

Empowered land owners, in turn, create the fundamental preconditions for economic growth and equitable development. For more than 20 years, Chemonics has pioneered solutions that increase the security of land and property rights and local control over natural resource management. We combine industry-leading expertise with an exceptional understanding of country-specific circumstances and conditions. We have broad experience in a variety of land and property-related projects, including land-titling, economic growth through land market development, resolving conflicts over resources, land policy reform, strengthening women’s property inheritance rights, land use planning, customary land reform, and utilizing secure property rights to enhance environmental conservation.

Selected Land Tenure and Resource Rights Projects
In Tajikistan, Chemonics is assisting the government in the tenure reform process, educating farmers on their land-related rights, and providing legal services to them to protect those rights. The project works across a network of regional legal aid centers to inform farmers of their land rights and provide legal representation. Over 18,000 legal consultations have been provided to date. Among other results, Chemonics helped 100 women from the Saodat Farm in northern Tajikistan regain possession of 19 hectares of irrigated land that had been taken from them illegally.
In the Chapare region of Bolivia, Chemonics supported rural Bolivians to strengthen individual land rights and gain access to property markets, credit, and investment opportunities. To secure individual property rights, Chemonics helped the National Agrarian Reform Institute and its Property Registry System develop a low-cost model and titling process to register 467,259 hectares. By securing rights and expanding access to markets, the project increased income and credit opportunities for beneficiaries and reduced conflicts resulting from property disputes. Over the life of the project, more than 37,037 small, rural holdings were incorporated into the regularization process. Land titling has helped farmers receive loans and abandon illicit crops, while strengthening government institutions at all levels.
Peace and security, albeit fragile, have been gradually restored in Burundi over the course of the last ten years. Chemonics helped support the government address conflict over land by drafting a new land code that tackled inequities that were drivers of past conflict. Together with various government ministries, international donor partners, civil society and the media, the project also organized and facilitated public forums throughout the country, which provided venues for discussion on and contribution to the changes to the land code. The project also developed a highly successful mass media campaign to inform the population about the law and generate public support. . In order to continue to benefit the population, the project created, printed, and distributed a layman's mini-guide and public information materials in Kirundi that explains the law's practical application and ensures that all levels of society will have a clear understanding of their new rights and responsibilities.
Ecuador has the highest rate of deforestation in Latin America and some of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems. To help conserve biodiversity, Chemonics strengthened land and resource ownership rights of indigenous groups and helped secure more than 1 million hectares of territorial lands through land titling and other legislative processes. Increased legal control over resources in tandem with supporting project activities resulted in improved land-use management and increased economic opportunities. This provided clear linkages between conservation and income generation. Today, as a result, more than 150 kilometers of indigenous lands is delimited and labeled in Huaorani and Cofán territories, there is regular patrolling of Cofán territory by “guardabosques,” and there are 36 trained, active community paralegals.

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