Integration of the Do No Harm Approach within the land restitution process

Progetto concluso

In Colombia, as an effect of the armed conflict, since 1985, 2-3 million people have been forced to abandon the equivalent of about 3 million hectares of land. In 2011, in order to solve the problem and prevent further land dis-possessions, the Colombian government ratified the Victims and Land Restitution Law 1448. Being aware of the deli-cate task to work on land restitution in an ongoing armed conflict, SDC with its experience in promoting the DNH approach continues to support the Ministry of Agriculture’s Land Restitution Unit to integrate the approach into the land restitution process in order to maximize its positive impacts while reducing its potential negative effects.

Paese/Regione Tema Periodo Budget
Conflitto & fragilitá
Stato di diritto - democrazia - diritti dell'uomo
Gestione e riforma dei sistemi di sicurezza
Prevenzione dei conflitti
Sviluppo legale e giudiziario
15.05.2014 - 31.10.2016
CHF 1'509'700

In Colombia, as an effect of the armed conflict, according to OCHA, since 1985 there has been a total of 5.2-5.7 million internal displaced people whereas 2-3 million people (ca. 360’000 families) have been forced to abandon the equivalent of 2.5-3.5 million hectares of land. In order to solve the problem and prevent further land dispossessions, the Colombian government, in 2011, ratified the Victims and Land Restitution 1448. This legislation introduces legal mechanisms to regulate land disputes between old and new owners. It also aims to prevent illegal land seizures. Founded in 2011, the URT is in charge to coordinate the land restitution process. The land restitution claims are (1) administratively prepared and then handed over to (2) specialized rural courts. After the verdict by the judges, the URT also coordinates (3) the post-sentence process. According to the URT, up to December 2013 about 1000 families, through 347 sen-tences, have been restituted 19’255 ha of land. Even though the pace of the land restitution process is well behind the planning figures of the initial milestone of 2’000’000 ha by 2014, the whole land restitution process represents a milestone in Colombia's history but also a challenge to translate this legal text into reality as it is implemented in conditions of ongoing conflict. The inclusion of the DNH approach into the land restitution policy started upon de-mand of the Ministry of Agriculture which oversees the URT. Thus, SDC in coopera-tion with the URT, the National University of Colombia and the NGO Collaborative Learning Projects CDA have started with the first phase of this project in February 2012 which will now be continued for additional two years, including from now on also the phases 2 and 3.


Maximize the positive im-pacts and reduce potential negative effects of the land restitution process by creat-ing and applying specific Do No Harm tools for the 3 phases of the process (1: administrative; 2: judicial; and 3: post-sentence phase), working on institutional strengthening, individual ca-pacity building and knowledge management.

Gruppi target

460 professionals of the URT at national and regional level, rural judges and pro-fessionals of the National System for Victims Assistance and Integral Reparation. 430 persons part of other national stakeholders (UARIV, Centro de Memoria Histórica), victims’ organizations, NGOs, local transitional justice committees and participants to the international event. 80’000 families planned to be restituted in 2014 and 2015.

Effetti a medio termine

Outcome 1: At territorial level, the URT adapts the (administrative) registration process to the poten-tials and limitations of the context. Outcome 2: During the judicial process of the resti-tution process transforming elements of Civil Tran-sitional Justice are identified and implemented by the judges. Outcome 3: The institutions involved in the imple-mentation of the land restitution sentences, being aware of the impact of the verdicts for the post-sentence process, are able to generate options best fitted to the context.


Risultati fasi precedenti:  

DNH-approach based incidence in the reform of the decree 4829: geographic focalization applied to civil protection networks. Incorporation of the situational analysis tool designed by the project as mandatory for the administrative process. Inclusion of DNH approach within the Capacity Building Plan of the URT. Inclusion of DNH approach by URT Field Offices (systematic context analysis; better institutional articulation; elaborate solu-tions for land occupants). National (by National University) and international (by US based NGO CDA) systematization of the Colombian case.

Direzione/Ufficio responsabile DSC
Credito Aiuto umanitario
Partner del progetto Partner contrattuale
Instituzione statale straniera
  • Central State of South East
  • Land Restitution Unity (URT), National University (UNAL), DeJusticia

Budget Fase in corso Budget Svizzera CHF   1'509'700 Budget svizzero attualmente già speso CHF   1'088'051
Fasi del progetto Fase 4 15.07.2017 - 31.08.2020   (Fase in corso)

Fase 2 15.05.2014 - 31.10.2016   (Completed)

Fase 1 01.01.2012 - 31.05.2016   (Completed)