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Comprehensive Land Certification Offers Hope to Refugee Returnees in Southern Burundi

With Burundi’s 2011 Land Code came several reforms within country’s Land Administration System. The code stipulates that all forms of rights in land must be registered – whether de jure or de facto – and introduced a decentralized system of land certification.


Refugee returnees in Burundi's Makamba Province

Recognizing the challenge associated with verifying de facto tenure arrangements in lieu of official documentation, decentralization of communal land services was imperative to the effective implementation of the code’s provisions.


Land registration in Burundi is facilitated by a complex web of laws that cover land within both the statutory and customary domains. And although there remains a lingering sense of uncertainty around the pros of cons of certification versus titling, the laws are for the most part quite clear on procedure.


The State’s drive towards the decentralization of communal land services and land certification has to a reasonable extent been supplemented by the efforts of International NGOs such as ZOA, whose comprehensive land certification model covers various legal provisions and procedures for quality control, delimitation of State lands, conflict resolution, cadastral surveys, land registration, land certification, parcel identification, and updates to the parcel folio within the land register.


Comprehensive land certification in Burundi
ZOA's model of comprehensive land certification, 2022

ZOA’s results, as obtained to date on the project, ‘Promoting Land Ownership Certification in Makamba and Nyanza Lac districts, Burundi’ – by way of delivery of land certificates, and its overall resourcing and capacity building efforts toward local institutions (at the commune and colline levels) offer a solid case for comprehensive land certification in return areas and in support of sustainable reintegration.


ZOA is scheduled to be a part of a high-level panel discussion at the 2023 GRF Side Event on Durable Solutions and Housing, Land Property Rights scheduled for Friday 15 December commencing at 11:00 (Central European Time).

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