Rural Integral Reform is excruciatingly slow in Colombia

The assessments of the implementation of the Peace Agreement made by different institutions and social organizations highlight the lack of political will for the materialization of what has been agreed and the constant failings on the part of the government regarding principally the Rural Integral Reform – RRI, in Spanish. This article aims to highlight the main difficulties and topics still in queue after 4 years of implementation.

In terms of normative implementation, the figures indicate that legislative steps of the 38% of the ordinances necessary for the development of the Agreement are still required, this means that 82 instruments still are to be designed. The point with the most hindsight is the Integral Rural Reform – RRI, in Spanish; of a set of 36 standards, 21 are still on hold.

The only progress presented during the second half of 2020 was the presentation of the bill for the creation of agrarian jurisdiction which is being processed and already being accepted in the second congressional debate. There is a considerable delay in the creation of this jurisdiction, given its inclusion in the priority implementation standards package and that had to be approved during the first year of implementation.

We also highlight the delays in the creation of the 16 National Plans for Integral Rural Reform – PNRRI, in Spanish. The PNRRIs were expected to be fully approved in the early implementation phase in 2018, yet only 9 of them have been approved currently.

In terms of financing, of the whole resources of the Asignación Paz component of the Ocad Paz1, which should be exclusively directed to Territorially Focused Development Plans (PDET) prioritized municipalities, it is noted that the 68% is intended to be spend outside the municipalities prioritized for the implementation of the Peace Agreement. A concern is that there is a decrease of 14% in the number of resources approved by OCAD Paz. It should be noted that of the total investment projects approved by OCAD Paz in PDET municipalities since 2017, barely 5.7% has been completed2.

The Comptroller General of the Republic pointed out that never, in any of the years of the implementation, the 100% of the resources allocated per year has been executed and only up to 65% of it is in fact executed. In this sense, it is thought that if the implementation continues at such a pace, it could last 25 years, that is, 10 years longer than expected3.

The implementation of point 1.1 of the RRI mainly requires four projects: access to land, social regulation of property, formalization and regularization, which are defined with a budget deficit of more than 50% during the last three years4.

The figures on the formalization and allocation of land are also critical. In the first 4 years of implementation, only 913,548 hectares have been formalized, which is a very low number compared to the pace of implementation needed to accomplish with the goal set out by the Agreement: 700,000 hectares should be allocated annually. Regarding the Fondo de Tierras, the figures indicate that only 8,143.7 hectares have been allocated, it should be noted that these were handed over through direct purchases and full subsidies5. this implies that the decentralization and democratization of access to land is not promoted.

The National Land Agency – ANT in Spanish, must make agrarian progress to feed the Fondo de Tierras. Currently there is an inventory of 37,041 such trials, which have the potential to impact approximately 1,547,115 hectares. However, the management carried out by the entity is not focused on the municipalities prioritized by the implementation of the Agreement: only 6.4% of agrarian trials are making progress in PDET areas.

The Registro Único de Sujetos de Ordenamiento – RESO is the instrument by which the beneficiaries of the land access mechanisms are identified. At this time 71,512 applications for registration in RESO had been received, of which 37.3% had already been admitted and the remaining 62.7% was awaiting validation. Barely 2% of the requests already registered are reflected in the right of access to land, of which 44% are women and 56% are men.

Regarding the Multiservice Cadastre, it should be noted that the government has set the goal of having an update of the cadastre of 650 municipalities – among them 170 PDET – for the 2022, with the objective of reaching the 100 % for 2025. This implies an extension of two more years from the initial deadline of seven years established by the Final Agreement to materialize the formation and updating of the rural cadastre (2023)6.

Finally, we must highlight the concern about the dilatory maneuvers used by the government not to hear the demands for the constitution of the Zonas de Reserva Campesina – ZRC.

The Agreement recognizes the ZRCs as agrarian initiatives contributing to the construction of peace and sets out the government’s compromise to promote access to land among the ZRCs. Despite this, the authorities were not diligent in resolving requests for the constitution of the ZRCs, at such degree that there were requests from 10 years ago.

Since 2010, 19 requests have been presented of which, only one culminated in the constitution of the ZRC of the Montes de María region in April of 2018. The situation is such that in January of 2021 a fundamental rights judge7 had to order the entity in charge to give answers to the requests for the constitution of the ZRCs of Sumapaz, Güejar-Cafre and Losada-Guayabero, having been presented since 2011 and, despite having fulfilled with all the conditions, they could not be constituted because the Agencia Nacional de Tierras’ directive council had used delaying actions so as not to respond to the requests of peasant organizations.

1 OCAD Paz is the academic management and decision-making body for the acceptance of investment projects related to the implementation of peace agreements.

2 Senators et Representants (2021) ¿En qué va la paz? Las cifras de la implementación. Available at:

3 PARES (2021) Seguridad en tiempos de pandemia. Legados de guerra y crimen organizado en Colombia.

4Office of the Inspector General of Colombia (2021) Informe sobre el estado de avance de la implementación de las estrategias de acceso a tierras y uso del suelo rural contempladas en el acuerdo de paz. Available at:

5Office of the Inspector General of Colombia (2021). Informe sobre el estado de avance de la implementación de las estrategias de acceso a tierras y uso del suelo rural contempladas en el acuerdo de paz

6 Secretaría Técnica del Componente Internacional de Verificación CINEP/PPP-CERAC (2021) Octavo Informe de verificación de la implementación del Acuerdo Final de Paz en Colombia. Disponible sur :

7 Juzgado Octavo de Ejecución de Penas y medidas de seguridad. (January 8, 2021) Tutela con número de Radicado: 11001318700820200007701. Disponible sur :

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