Architecture for Humanity organized a conference on the topic of “Securing Land Rights in Haiti” at the Karibé this past November. It was a huge success as almost 100 people came to participate in this important discussion.
Among the government agencies represented were the Ministry of Interior, CIAT, UCLBP, INARA, ONACA, and DGI, underscoring the government’s commitment to finding solutions to the land tenure obstacles to development. In addition, there was a great turnout from local government including the municipality of Port-au-Prince as well as judges and CASECs from around the capital.
The most memorable part of the day was the panel discussion featuring the former Minister of Justice, Me. Camille Leblanc, Me. Rose-Berthe Augustin representing the International Organization for Migration, and Me. Joab Thelot who spoke on behalf of the National Cadastre Office. They explained the many land tenure challenges that they had each faced in their professional practice, whether working for the government, and NGO or a law firm. Each of them proposed solutions to clarify land rights and strengthen land tenure security, in order to promote investment and reconstruction.
One point that all 3 panelists made was the importance of reaching out to community members and making community engagement a cornerstone of any intervention. In an environment where so many land transactions are verbal, and even when they are written the national land records cannot always be relied upon to provide solid proof of title, local validation is key to obtaining a level of security that can enable a project to move forward.
They also insisted on the need to develop a national cadastre and digitize the land registry in order to maintain a level of transparency and accountability in land transactions in the future.