Historical trajectories and prospective scenarios for collective land tenure reforms in community forest areas in Colombia

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Collective land tenure in Colombia has been a constitutional right since 1991. It is therefore protected with the highest possible status, as it is defined as a fundamental right of indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples. This condition has contributed to the creation of legal instruments and public policy arrangements to help traditional communities ensure their livelihoods and protect their territorial autonomy, especially in vast forest areas. However, this recognition is not consistent across traditional peoples in Colombia.
This study, based on the method proposed by Bourgeois et al. (2017), applies the participatory prospective analysis (PPA) method to four cases in Colombia: (i) the Supreme Community Council of the Upper San Juan River (ASOCASAN) (Chocó), in the Pacific; (ii) the Arhuaco indigenous resguardo in Sierra Nevada (Cesar); (iii) the Afro-Colombian community councils in Valledupar rural areas (Cesar); and (iv) the indigenous, Afro-Colombian and campesino communities in Montes de María region, in the Caribbean. The main results reflect the different levels of land tenure security in these locations, based on contextual environmental, political, economic and legal factors at both national and regional level. The study provides a set of public policy recommendations to enhance collective land tenure security, from concept development to implementation, with a special focus on the present moment, when the implementation of the Peace Agreement poses new challenges for the protection of forest ecosystems and the recognition of the territorial rights of ethnic groups and campesinos.

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