El Salvador

El Salvador


El Salvador is a small, densely populated country that experienced a decade of civil war, after which a process of development ensued, including the diversification of exports and increasing access to services such as education and health care. In El Salvador, 82% of the land is considered agricultural, with 39% of the population living in rural areas. Ten percent of the population is indigenous.

The Constitution recognizes the right to property for every person and guarantees free disposition of their land. In addition, the Constitution states that foreigners are allowed to buy urban land but cannot acquire rural land, except for industrial purposes. The Civil Code provides the legal framework for land, Decree 153 of 1980 initiated the Agrarian Reforms and Decree 152 and 207 specified the type and size of farms that were redistributed.  El Salvador does not recognize specific rights for indigenous peoples, and the government has made little effort in regard to the recognition of indigenous land claims.

Disputes over land were among the causes for the civil war in El Salvador. Disputes are generally related to ownership or boundaries, and are resolved primarily through the land registry system of civil courts. 

Source of the narrative

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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.




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Property Rights and Resource Governance Country Profile: El Salvador

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 2011