In Guatemala, a history of discrimination and inequality of opportunity led to a 36-year conflict that finally subsided with a Peace Agreement in 1996. Improvements since then have prevented a return to conflict and begun to create the conditions for sustained stability. However, the persistence of substantial inequality constitutes a risk factor for future stability and constrains Guatemala’s growth potential.

Land distribution is highly unequal. The largest 2.5% of farms occupy nearly two-thirds of agricultural land while 90% of the farms are on only one-sixth of the agricultural land. Furthermore, tenure is insecure and is one of the key causes of poverty among indigenous Guatemalans, who make up 43% of the population. Multiple unresolved land disputes and ineffective mechanisms to resolve them discourage investment and reduce the potential contribution of agriculture to improvements in rural living standards and overall economic growth.

Guatemala’s extensive and biologically diverse forest systems are experiencing a rapid 1.3% annual rate of deforestation and losing their economic value due to forest fires, agricultural expansion, wildlife-poaching, and large-scale development projects. Increases in ongoing donor assistance to empower communities in resource management of this valuable forest system would help Guatemala achieve a greater, more sustainable yield from its forests and reduce the rate of deforestation.

Source of the narrative

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parts indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.


Indicators Year Value Unit Dataset Source Remove

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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

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    • Very Good Practice
    • Good Practice
    • Weak Practice
    • Very Weak Practice
    • Missing Value

    Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

    Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
    • Fully adopt
    • Partially adopt
    • Not adopted
    • Missing Value

    Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

    The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen. The indicators of this dataset assess national laws against Section 16 of the VGGT standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.

    Each indicator relates to a principle established in the VGGTs.

    Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.


    Latest News

    INTERVIEW-Give women land to build lasting peace in Guatemala - Nobel laureate

    Friday, February 3, 2017

    By: Anastasia Moloney

    Date: 3 February 2017

    Source: Reuters

    Across Latin America just one percent of farms and estates control more than half of the region's productive land.

    Giving women access to land in Guatemala is key to forging lasting peace and tackling inequality, Nobel peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu said on Friday, in a country where land distribution is one of the most unequal in the world.

    Guatemalan Activist Killed Protesting Hydroelectric Project

    Friday, January 20, 2017

    Date: 18 January 2017

    Source: Telesur

    A peaceful demonstrator was shot dead during a protest in an Indigenous community.

    An activist was killed Tuesday in Guatemala during a clash between protesters and police at a demonstration led by Indigenous community members who oppose the construction of a hydroelectric plant in San Mateo Ixtatan, a municipality in the country's western highlands.

    Guatemala: "We will not buy what is ours"

    By: Manuela Picq
    Date: September 29th 2016
    Source: Intercontinental Cry Magazine

    Challenging Terra Nullius in the courts of Guatemala

    Copones is a large Maya Q’eqchi’ territory in Guatemala, in the northern province of Quiché along the Mexican border with Chiapas. Q’eqchi’ communities have lived in Copones for millennia, caring for rivers and the land generation after generation. Their territory extends over 20,000 hectares of clean rivers and fertile land.



    Displaying 1 - 6 of 51

    Tipping the Balance: Policies to Shape Agricultural Investments and Markets in Favour of Small-scale Farmers

    This report develops a framework to examine the role of policy at three levels: at the level of agricultural policy basics (Section 2); at the level of directly shaping investments (Section 3); and at the level of market governance (Section 4). The key policy levers are summarized in Table 1, and elaborated on at the end of each section. The work was supported by four country case studies, conducted in Guatemala, Nigeria, Tanzania, and the Philippines, and led by national researchers.

    Resource information

    December 2012

    Property Rights and Resource Governance Country Profile: Guatemala

    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.

    Resource information

    December 2010