* This is an unofficial
translation of the original document which was in Spanish.
Document presented by Chile to the 18th meeting of the Summit
Implementation Review Group
Washington, D.C., April 7, 2000
During the six-year period 1994-1999 more than 125,000 cases were
resolved (in both urban and rural areas) representing a total of 160,000
families with irregular property situations. The programs have thus benefited
some 600,000 people. It is expected that the total number of cases resolved
will rise to 132,000 in the year 2000.
In terms of surface area, some 15 million square meters have been
regularized in urban areas, and 343,000 hectares in rural areas. It is
estimated that properties worth the equivalent of 482 billion pesos have been
brought within the registration system.
These efforts represent a direct response to the challenge of
overcoming poverty. Property regularization has benefited small farmers and
low-income urban property owners, irregular occupants of public lands,
farming communities (total of 1905 beneficiary families), indigenous
communities, fishermen, artisans, new settlements, debtors to the former ANAP
debtors and, in particular, female heads of household. Today four of every 10
beneficiaries in fact fall in this last category.
A number of institutions have participated in these efforts. Thanks to
the financing provided to the sector from the national budget, and with the
support of the World Bank, property regularization projects have been undertaken
in all regions of the country. In addition to the contributions indicated
above, resources have been provided from the National Fund for Regional
Development, the Solidarity and Social Investment Fund, municipalities and
Beneficiary families receive the security of having their property
title registered. This allows them to make investments and to finance
improvements to their properties, and gives them access to various social
programs, such as housing subsidies, irrigation programs, reforestation,
community facilities, training and job creation programs.
Thanks to the property regularization program, the owner acquires not
only legal security but the right to enjoy the social value of his property
and a chance to become part of the country's productive process.
DIAGNOSIS OF IRREGULAR PROPERTY
To meet the strategic goal of putting an end to the massive
irregularity of property ownership, a Diagnosis of Irregular Property (DPI)
was carried out. This produced a reliable database on all potential cases for
ownership title regularization by the Ministry of National Assets.
This plan, implemented between 1996 and 1988, provided a database of
65,364 cases. The diagnostic team used a simple, low-cost methodology to
conduct "sweeps" at the community level, with direct support from
regional offices, municipalities and neighborhood entities. The greatest
number of surveys was conducted in the regions of Valparaiso, Maule, Bio Bio,
Los Lagos and Metropolitan Santiago.
The results of the DPI provided a more accurate basis for the regional
plans and goals for property regularization to be executed by each regional
ministerial secretariat. It also made it possible to optimize the use of
resources and to emphasize sectors where the problem was most persistent:
here specific social programs were undertaken, such as the "Chile
SUPPORT FOR LOW-INCOME GROUPS
Property regularization efforts have been focused on low-income
people: rural dwellers, heads of household, indigenous families, inhabitants
of the poorer communities. In this way, a solid foundation has been laid for
establishing eligibility for housing subsidies, programs of the Institute for
Agricultural Development (INDAP), the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF),
the National Women's Service (SERNAM) and programs for providing basic social
One example of these efforts is the Rationalization Program financed
by the government and the World Bank in the rural sector. Its beneficiaries
were small producers and families living in rural villages and engaged either
full-time or seasonally in farming and forestry work. The program provides
work opportunities in wine-growing, horticulture and food processing
When it comes to selecting specific sectors, it is important to note
the relationship between regularization efforts and other economic and social
development programs. For example, the devastation wrought by the October
1997 earthquake in the region of Coquimbo was addressed in part by
regularizing 1894 property titles, through the Ministry of National Assets.
In addition, housing repair loans were granted by the Banco del Estado de
Chile and housing assistance was provided by the Ministry of Housing and
Urban Development and its dependent services.
IMPACT ON THE TARGET POPULATION
An evaluation was undertaken in 1996 to assess the impact of the
Property Regularization Program. The study produced some interesting data.
Ninety-three percent of persons surveyed felt that it was of high or very
high priority to resolve the problem of irregular land titles. Ensuring
social peace and better relationships within neighborhoods and communities
were seen as key components of such efforts. Ninety-seven percent of
beneficiaries ranked these factors as "good" or "very good",
in terms of the usefulness of the programs.
On the other hand, 88 percent of persons consulted placed a high value
on access to social programs, services and financial assistance, while 81
percent declared that their property had increased in value thanks to
regularization and that it had at least doubled in value after receipt of
title. This can be explained by the combined effect of regularization and the
consequent security for making investments. In short, these measures give
individuals the legal certainty that they are living on their own property.
STREAMLINING PROCEDURES AND LEGAL CHANGES
The work of modernizing the property ownership and titles system
called for a redesign of procedures. This innovation has been of significant
help in developing policies to modernize and optimize management of the
system, which were adopted as part of the basic guidelines for Ministry
activities in this area.
The new method seeks to streamline the processing of property title
applications. In this way, legal, technical and administrative procedures
have been modernized to make it easier to regularize rural and urban
properties. The objectives of this process are the following:
- To cut red tape and reduce
- To protect third party rights
by introducing mechanisms to identify the presumed owner.
- Clarity in the sequence of
- Assisting in the process of
decentralization by granting greater powers to the regional ministerial
- Improving service to
potential beneficiaries by strengthening the sense of rationalization.
With respect to legal aspects, there are currently a series of rules
applied to regularizing and rationalizing real property. There are thus
mechanisms in place to facilitate management and meet specific needs of
users. These include the following:
- Decree Law No. 1939 of 1977,
whereby the Ministry of National Assets is responsible for acquisition,
administration and disposal of state assets, and exercises specific
powers with respect to property regularization.
- Decree Law No. 2695 of 1979,
amended by Law No. 19 455 of 1996. This law regularizes the ownership of
small, private urban and rural properties and allows title to be
constituted over them.
- D. F. L. No. 5 of 1967, from
the Ministry of Agriculture, amended by Law No. 19,233. This law
regularizes the formation of property owners' groupings within an
agricultural community. An organization constituted pursuant to this Law
enjoys legal status as soon as a common property is registered with the
Registrar of Real Properties.
- Law No. 18,270 of 1984, which
empowers the President of the Republic to grant free ownership title to
Chilean individuals who, at the time this law came into force, had
occupied and worked, for at least five years, in person and for their own
account, public lands located in rural areas of the region of Aisen.
This power is to be exercised by the Ministry of National Assets,
without the need for a prior deed of settlement or other formalities
except those established in the Law.
- Law No. 18,616 of 1987, which
establishes the requirements for the granting of ownership title in
certain communities of the regions of Tarapaca and Antofagasta. It
provides that ownership may be granted to Chilean individuals (pursuant
to D. L. No. 1939) who for at least five years prior to the date the Law
entered into force had occupied public rural farmlands. No formal deed
of settlement is required.
- D. L. No. 2885 of 1979, and
subsequent amendments, which empowers the President of the Republic to
grant free ownership title to public urban and rural lands on Easter
- Indigenous law 19,253 of 1993
provides that the National Indigenous Development Corporation may
receive from the Ministry of National Assets real properties or water
rights for allocation to indigenous communities or individuals. This Law
also provides that the Ministry must prepare a rationalization plan for
the regions of Tarapaca and Antofagasta.
CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT PROPERTY IRREGULARITY
Ministry of National Assets undertook a wide-ranging program of
regularization during 1994-2000, which has benefited 125,000 families and
involved the expenditure of 11 billion pesos. There are still some 40,000
cases of ownership irregularity pending, however. Efforts to date to
rationalize ownership titles could be frustrated if ownership is allowed to
fall into irregularity in the future. This could happen if beneficiaries or
their heirs were to make improper sales, to give unfulfilled purchase
promises, to transfer rights without proper legalization, or if, upon the
death of the owner, the legal provisions governing succession are not adhered
to. Such a situation could arise for a number of reasons: lack of proper and
timely information, the low educational level of users, the lack of legal
advice for low-income persons or those living in isolated areas.
For this reason, a Campaign to Prevent Property Irregularities was
launched. Its objective is to inform users of the importance of ownership
title and its impact on the quality of life. It also outlines the negative
implications of irregular ownership status, which can generate socioeconomic
problems and impede the delivery of social programs, technical assistance and
This plan included a series of actions of an intersectoral nature. The
Ministry of National Assets negotiated cooperation agreements with the
Ministry of Justice, the Civil Registrar and Identification Service, the
Ministry of Agriculture (through INDAP and CONAF), the Judicial Assistance
Corporation, the National Women's Service and the municipalities.
As well, the Ministry of National Assets has participated actively in
programs of a multisectoral character such as Chile Barrio and Prorural.
Besides helping with the process of regularization, it undertook a broad
information and prevention campaign. This resulted in the delivery of
brochures explaining the process for obtaining property title and listing
contacts in the social departments of municipalities, real property
registrars, notaries and offices of the Judicial Assistance Corporation
throughout the country.
Finally, two further elements deserve mention. The first relates to
training in this area for the staff of municipal social departments and
neighborhood leaders. The second relates to the study conducted by the
Research Center of Diego Portales University to develop alternative means of
rationalizing and simplifying inheritance procedures.
Thanks to a series of policies and specific programs, it has been
possible to meet the goal of regularizing small property ownership and to
resolve problems in a number of areas that require support and guidance.
These plans, and the results achieved, are described below.
RATIONALIZATION AND NORMALIZATION OF IRREGULAR LANDHOLDINGS
The Program for Rationalization and Normalization of Irregular
Landholdings was launched in 1997 as a successor to the Rationalization
Program financed by the government and the World Bank (1993-1997). It has two
principal thrusts: rationalizing private property titles through the application
of Decree.2695/79 and normalizing the occupancy of public properties,
pursuant to the rules established in Decree Law 1939/77. During the period
1994-1999 some 109,000 urban and rural properties were rationalized and
16,154 ownership titles were given to low-income families and settlers in
REGULARIZATION PROGRAM FOR FARMING COMMUNITIES
In Chile, there are some 85,000 people living in farming communities,
especially in the Coquimbo region. These communities originated from land
grants by the Spanish crown and the land is still held for the most part in
common usufruct, although there are also small, privately owned lots.
Pursuant to D. F. L. No. 5, amended by Law 19,233, an agricultural
community is defined as "a group of owners of a common rural property
who occupy, exploit or cultivate it and who are organized in accordance with
this Law". These groups are found for the most part in dry or
mountainous areas typified by scarce rainfall and high levels of poverty.
According to a study conducted by Mideplan, four of the ten poorest
communities in Chile are to be found in Coquimbo. These are the communities
of Punitaqui, Rio Hurtado, Canela and La Higuera, which are also notable for
the presence of this system of landholding. Nevertheless, some communities
have managed, through training and investment, to achieve a better level of
development. These achievements offer an alternative that deserves to be
The ANAP project originated in accordance with the rules established
in Law No. 19,229, whereby the Ministry of National Assets took over certain
rights that had not been transferred or liquidated by agencies of the former
National Savings and Loan System before it was wound up in 1990. The
management of this plan was designed to focus efforts on obtaining
objectively quantifiable results. It also made provision for the efficient
use of human, financial, technological and material resources, without
overlooking the need for the effective delivery of services and for, at the
same time, ensuring that the needs of users were satisfactorily met.
This project involved two principal activities: identifying irregular
situations and the demand for services by users. During the period 1994-1999
there were 15,329 transactions, including normalization of property rights,
credits and irregular ownership. Some 45,500 persons benefited in this way
from the project.
The project also generated revenues for the state, exceeding 1,340
million pesos, adjusted for inflation since 1994. Earnings (direct and
external administration) amounted to 480 million pesos, while the total cost
was 860 million pesos: the rate of return over the period therefore was 35.8
In terms of the land area regularized, the project resulted in
regularization of 2 million square meters of housing, located primarily in
urban sectors of the Santiago Metropolitan Region, Bio Bio and Valparaiso.
As well, in considering the impact of these regularizations, it was
concluded that they had generated assets to a value of 54,385 million pesos,
in terms of the real property and dwellings brought into the market.
This program represented a major step in meeting the compensation
commitment made by the two governments of the Concertacion during the 1990s.
With the approval of Law No. 19,568 of July 1998, individuals, corporations
and political parties had the right to seek restitution or the payment of
compensation for properties confiscated by official act subsequent to Sept.
11, 1973. During that time the state had seized 258 real properties from
their legitimate owners, as well as thousands of movable properties
(classified into 131 types) and 21 real estate concessions.
Under the military government, the Ministries of Justice, of the
Interior and of Labor and Social Security formalized these expropriations
through a series of decree laws. These cancelled the legal status of trade
unions and various political parties (Communist, Socialist, Radical,
Christian Democrat, National and Liberal) among others. This rule was also applied
to institutions and businesses that had had any relationship whatever with
the Popular Unity government.
On the basis of the above-mentioned cadastre, the law set a time limit
of one year for persons affected, or their legal heirs, to submit claims for
the properties confiscated. This term expired in July 1999, at which time 515
applications were received, 27 properties were not claimed, and 24 were
subject to judicial proceedings.
With respect to political petitions, seven parties submitted 224
applications for compensation or restitution of 114 properties. These were
for the most part party headquarters. The Ministry of National Assets will
issue a decree confirming devolution of these properties to their rightful
owners. In the case of compensation, the appraisal and valuation process
began in October 1999.
REGULARIZING INDIGENOUS PROPERTY
More than 2000 indigenous families across the country will benefit
from actions of the Ministry of National Assets during the year 2000, and
60,000 hectares will be regularized, pursuant to the framework established by
the Indigenous Law 19,253 of 1993. That Law established rules for the
protection, promotion and development of indigenous peoples, on the premise
that the Chilean nation is a multiethnic society. Consequently, it
establishes the duty of the state "to respect, protect and promote the
development of indigenous peoples, their cultures, families and communities,
taking the steps necessary for such purposes, and to protect indigenous
lands, to see to their proper exploitation, their ecological balance, and to
promote their expansion".
The importance that indigenous peoples attached to the land is such
that this has become a principal concern of indigenous policy and demands.
The interrelationship between indigenous peoples and their lands is one of
the defining features of their culture and way of life. It is essential
therefore to establish rules to regularize and remedy problems relating to
The Indigenous Law sets precise standards for the Ministry of National
Assets in this regard. It recognizes the need to expand the scope of
indigenous lands, since those now recognized are inadequate to guarantee
subsistence and development of thee peoples. To meet these requirements, an
Indigenous Lands and Water Fund was created, with contributions from the
state and donations from private entities and from abroad. Its principal
objective is to resolve the problem of land and water scarcity, through the
purchase of private lands or the transfer or of public lands and the
provision of financial assistance. According to the law, the National
Corporation for Indigenous Development (CONADI) may receive free title from
the state (through the Ministry of National Assets), or from other public or
private agencies, to property or water rights, which it will assign to
indigenous communities or individuals for their ownership, use or
Article 19 provides that indigenous people enjoy the right "to
exercise community activities on sacred or ceremonial sites, cemeteries,
shrines, sports fields and other areas of cultural or recreational use,
belonging to the state". Interested indigenous communities may request
the transfer of such properties, free of charge.
The Law also recognizes the need for a plan to regularize ownership
title to lands of the Aymara and Atacameña peoples in the regents of Tarapaca
and Antofagasta. It provides that the processes for regularizing and
constituting ownership for these communities must safeguard the existing
forms of individual and community property and the cultural heritage they
contain. As well, the Law contains a series of specific provisions relating
to Chile's distinct ethnic groups. As part of this approach the Development
Commission for Easter Island was created, to examine and propose to the
Ministry of National Assets the free delivery of public lands, in ownership,
concession or other forms of use, in accordance with the ethnic tradition and
with the development programs adopted for Easter Island.
The process of regularizing historic occupancy situations has involved
more than financial resources. There has also been a responsible and
effective effort on the part of officials to apply the Ministry's policy with
respect to indigenous peoples. In this context, National Assets signed a
framework agreement with CONADI in 1994, for applying the provisions of the
Indigenous Law. That agreement expresses the willingness of both parties to
examine any situation where public lands are occupied by indigenous
communities, in order to transfer them, if appropriate, to the Corporation.
According to the process, CONADI must submit a property transfer application
for each case. In general terms, where there are no legal obstacles or third
party rights involved, these applications have been accepted and the lands
have been transferred, in accordance with Decree Law 1939. CONADI also
follows up with the provision of an indigenous ownership title.
National Assets has carried out a number of activities in the northern
zone. On one hand, it has transferred public lands to indigenous communities
and associations; on the other hand, in an effort to comply with the
Indigenous Law, it has implemented a rationalization plan for Aymara and
Atacameña lands in the Regions of Tarapaca and Antofagasta, respecting the
traditional pattern of landholding. In order to implement this plan, two
studies were carried out in 1994 to identify the indigenous communities
living in these regions. Subsequently, three projects were prepared, to
provide a cadastre of indigenous ownership. The idea was to determine the
occupancy of these communities, the ownership of the land (public or private)
and the titles or other legal documents held by the occupants. In this way, a
diagnosis of indigenous occupancy in the Altiplano was prepared and the
applicable legal instrument was determined for regularizing those lands.
The landholding status of the Atacameña people in the region of
Antofagasta differs significantly from that of Aymaras. In the province of El
Loa only 19 indigenous communities were found, occupying large areas of
publicly owned lands on which they conducted their productive activities. The
remaining properties (5426) corresponded essentially to individual lots
within the communities, consisting of dwellings and small adjacent plots.
Most carry ownership title, while the rest occupy public lands.
Pursuant to Law No. 19,253 on the Protection, Promotion and
Development of Indigenous Peoples, the Ministry has given priority to
resolving the land claims of the Rapa Nui community. In 1995 the government
committed itself to returning 1000 hectares on Easter Island. Subsequently,
the Advisory Commission of the Ministry of National Assets was established to
identify areas to be detached from the Fundo Vaitea and the Rapa Nui National
Park. That commission established the following criteria for the delivery of
- The beneficiary must
constitute a stable family.
- Must live on the Island.
- Must have no other lands.
- Must not have disposed of
lands previously received from the State.
- Preference according to the
number of dependents.
In 1998 1000 hectares were divided into lots, together with 500
hectares that had been subdivided in 1993. These parcels, of five hectares
each, met 60 percent of the total claim at the time of delivery.
In June 1999 the Development Commission for Easter Island was created
and the list of beneficiaries for the land delivery process was ratified. The
following month, 247 properties were distributed by drawing lots, and 34
special occupancy cases were confirmed. This process benefited 281 persons
and the properties were delivered by means of a deed of occupancy that
authorized their exploitation. In February 2000, ownership titles will be
delivered at a special ceremony.
During the second half of 1999, 541 applications were processed for
recognition of material possession by former occupants. To compete this task,
each case will have to be subjected to a physical survey and legal analysis.
The corresponding ownership titles will be delivered in mid-2000.
To meet the demand for land on Easter Island, National Assets will
have to take further steps to detach another portion of the Rapa Nui National
Park and to split off another section of the Fundo Vaitea (approximately 1500
A series of efforts has been made in the southern zone on behalf of
the Mapuche, Huilliche and Pehuenche communities.
In 1994 public properties in the Commune of San Juan de la Costa were
transferred, in the region of Los Lagos, totaling 24,683 hectares, benefiting
300 Huilliche families living in conditions of extreme poverty.
Of particular note is the case of Quinquen in the region of Araucania.
In 1992 the state acquired a portion of the Quinquen and Galletue properties,
with a total surface area of 26,510 hectares, in order to protect lands
historically occupied by Pehuenche families living in the valley of Quinquen.
The remainder of the property, covering 10,600 hectares, was transferred to
CONADI for the common use of the communities of Quiquen, Huallenmapu Ivante
and Pedro Calfuqueo, in accordance with their customs.
In Chiloe, intensive efforts have been made to resolve the landholding
problems of the Huilliche communities of Canquin and Huentemo. Through a
special agreement signed with the Ministry of National Assets, the Ministry
of Agriculture, the National Forestry Corporation, the National Indigenous
Development Corporation, the Archbishopric of Ancud and the General Council
of Caciques of Chiloe, more than 4000 hectares were transferred to
these communities, including 2765 hectares within the Chiloe National Park.
In the commune of Quellon, efforts are underway with Forestal Hawarden
to negotiate the transfer of 5760 hectares of its publicly owned concession
on San Pedro Island, which has a total area of 6400 hectares. This move will
benefit 54 Huilliche families who have lived there since time immemorial.
THE CHILE BARRIO PROGRAM
The Housing Institute of the Faculty of Architecture of the University
of Chile prepared a survey of irregular settlements in 1996, under contract
to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Solidarity and
Social Investment Fund. The study concluded that there were a total of 972
irregular settlements in Chile (543 urban and 429 rural) that were home to
104,000 families. This is the target population for the Chile Barrio Program.
On the basis of the study, various problems affecting these families
were identified: precarious housing located on lands without title, often in
suitable or hazardous areas; lack of basic services such as drinking water,
lighting and sewage; unpaved streets and passageways, lack of amenities,
green space and community facilities; little or no access to services such as
schools, doctors, hospitals, commerce, transportation; unstable and poorly
paid employment; low levels of education for heads of household; exclusion
from mechanisms of the market and from public policies intended to provide
suitable living and working conditions. The circumstances mean that this
social group suffers all the consequences and lack of opportunities that go
with living in poverty.
The situation prompted the President of the Republic to launch the
Chile Barrio Program in 1997. This is a government initiative that is being
undertaken jointly by the Ministries of Housing and Urban Development, of
Planning and Cooperation and of National Assets, FOSIS, the Department of
Regional Development and the National Training and Employment Service. The
objective is "to achieve a substantial improvement in the housing
situation, the environmental quality and opportunities for social and
involvement and employment for families living in precarious
The intent is to open new opportunities and contribute to capacity
building for low-income individuals, families and social organizations in
order to improve living standards and to overcome their current situation of
exclusion and social marginalization.
The Chile Barrio Program calls for activities in each of the irregular
settlements identified in the diagnosis referred to above. On one hand, it
has constructed decent housing, of a size and quality equal to or higher than
the minimum standards of current housing policy, located on suitable lots,
and owned by their occupants. In addition, basic services such as drinking
water, electricity and sewage and a readily accessible internal roads network
are being provided.
On the social front, progress has been made in terms of community
facilities and the use of institutional systems for promoting economic
development, employment and education. Assistance has also been offered in
making use of social service networks and in training residents to organize
and manage their own initiatives. The inclusion of these factors has helped
to strengthen social relationships and a sense of ownership and of belonging
to a neighborhood, a community and a country.
The action strategy of Chile Barrio Program has been innovative in
terms of public policies. This is a coordinated, intersectoral effort that
has reoriented, amended and articulated existing social programs so that they
can interact within a specific area (a settlement) and respond effectively to
a concrete situation. This way of addressing social problems, through an
integrated, participatory, planned and decentralized approach, not only makes
government social policy more efficient but opens the way to creating
partnerships with private institutions, social groups and labor and industry
PARTICIPATION IN THE CHILE BARRIO PROGRAM
The Ministry of National Assets’ participation in the Chile Program
has been a challenge and at the same time an opportunity and an experience
that has brought a new quality to regularization efforts. In fact, the
settlements selected for this project constitute a priority for the
Ministry’s action. The Ministry's support for the development of this project
has focused on two aspects: a diagnosis of the land ownership situation
within settlements and regularization of that situation through the following
- Delivery of free land titles
to settlements established on public lands.
- Regularization of ownership
title in settlements established on private lands.
- Transfers to SERVIU or the
municipalities of public lands suitable for settlement.
- Direct sale of public lands
to families participating in the program.
In 1998, 4270 properties were regularized throughout Chile,
representing an investment of 3.428 billion pesos. This includes the cost of
regularization and the value of the public lands transferred. The efforts of
National Assets in 1999 allowed 2873 properties to be regularized, with an
investment of 1.227 billion pesos.
FURTHER PLANNED ACTIVITIES
The year 2000 will see the completion of the process of regularizing
all settlements under the Chile Barrio cadastre that are susceptible to
intervention with instruments that this Ministry has available. The only
exception will be the Bio Bio region, where the number of cases is such that
work will have to continue until 2003.
At the same time, strategies will be worked out for regularizing
ownership in settlements that are not susceptible to the instruments used by
the Ministry. Moreover, joint efforts will be made with the respective
municipalities to define the goals and procedures for managing public lands vacated
by the eradication of squatter settlements. In most cases, new public spaces
will be established on these lands for the use and enjoyment of all residents
of the community.
Finally, in coordination with the municipalities, neighborhood
organizations and other public services, the Campaign to Prevent Property
Irregularity will be publicized so as to help users to maintain the validity
of their ownership titles.