The problems associated with land tenure in Ecuador are long-standing and have been characterized by the relationship between access, use and ownership of land, and by the problems of peasant and indigenous families and communities. These problems are also characterized by the direct and visible relationship with sectors that own large amounts of land, have access to the country’s political and economic power, and define what is necessary for the countryside, its problems, its agendas and its development policies. This relationship has influenced legislative agenda of recent years, leading to the design of a new land law that reflects the proposals of power groups in government and the current state discourse.
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The Ecuadorian government recently declared a state of emergency in the province of Morona Santiago, which civil society organizations say is harmfully restricting the rights of indigenous communities.
Indigenous battles to defend nature have taken to the streets, leading to powerful mobilizations like the gathering at Standing Rock. They have also taken to the courts, through the development of innovative legal ways of protecting nature. In Ecuador, Bolivia and New Zealand, indigenous activism has helped spur the creation of a novel legal phenomenon -- the idea that nature itself can have rights.
By: Moira Birss
Date: 26 January 2017
From attempts to close Ecuador’s leading environmental rights NGO to megaprojects on indigenous lands, Rafael Correa’s government continues to criminalize and threaten environmental activists and indigenous people.
In Latin American and the Caribbean region (LAC), millions of families lack access to land for shelter or live in insecure tenure under a constant threat of being evicted from their homes. Land conflicts and forced evictions are increasingly reported and a key issue in the advocacy agenda of civil society and grassroots organizations.
Generally, most rural land in the world has been in the hands of local peasant communities and indigenous peoples under customary land tenure systems; historically although, land ownership in rural areas, and natural resources contained in it, have been a source of tension between different actors with different ways to understand and take ownership. In this conflict of interest, usually rural and indigenous communities with collective forms of property, have lost out.
"This paper finds that basic property rights are insufficient, for much depends upon the legal and cultural regimes related to marriage and inheritance. Drawing upon household asset surveys which collected individual level ownership data in Ecuador, Ghana and the state of Karnataka in India, it estimates married women’s share of couple wealth and relate it to whether major household assets are owned individually or jointly during the marriage as well as to different inheritance regimes and practices.
"This study looks at the recognition of women’s property rights in practice in Ecuador. One finding is that women may accumulate property in two ways, as individual property and as community property. While individual property, generally acquired through an inheritance, provides a fall back position, community property in marriage or unions has special benefits. Joint property compensates women for their work and provides security." [Threats to Women’s Land Tenure Security and Effectiveness of Interventions - Annotated Bibliography]
This resource is a USAID land tenure country profile that provides information on fundamental land tenure issues, including tenure types, legal frameworks, and land administration and institutions. This country profile is divided into the following sections: Summary/overview, Land, Freshwater, Trees and Forests, Minerals, and Data Sources.
Thesis presented to the University of Florida
This is a resource from the Resource Equity LandWise database of resources.