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* 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 private foundations.

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.


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 Barrio" program.


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 services.

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 (agro-industry).

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.


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.


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 processing times
  • To protect third party rights by introducing mechanisms to identify the presumed owner.
  • Clarity in the sequence of procedural steps.
  • Assisting in the process of decentralization by granting greater powers to the regional ministerial secretariats.
  • 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 Island.
  • 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.


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 banking services.

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.


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 remote regions.


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 adopted.


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 percent.

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.


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 land tenure.

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 administration.

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 ethnic lands:

  • 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 hectares).


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 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 settlements".

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 associations.


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 instruments:

  • 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.


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.


Chile /Chile
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