Investigaciones y estudios

Brazil: Law, Land Tenure and Gender Review: Latin America

Descripción General

This report on Brazil forms part of a study of law and land tenure in four Latin American countries. The study also includes a much broader regional overview covering land tenure throughout Latin America. A number of common and broad themes emerge from these studies, applicable in different degrees within the specific country contexts.

A great deal of legislative reform has taken place in the region, and laws and policies are generally regarded as progressive. Many of our recommendations, however, dwell on the fact that legal reform has not been fully implemented, nor has it created the desired results. As a result, widespread recognition of housing and land rights has not translated effectively in local laws and policies, court decisions, or in greater empowerment of women, indigenous and black communities.

The delivery of housing is still an enormous challenge given the existing and growing backlogs. Reliance on the private sector has also meant the exclusion of the poor, who do not meet its stringent financing criteria.

Redressing the legacy of unequal distribution of land emerges as a key recommendation in all the studies. As the regional overview notes, the inequality shown in land distribution patterns influences the very high wealth disparity levels, and has historically been an ingredient in initiating political change.

Integration of the poor into the urban economy remains a big challenge. Some positive developments have emerged in this regard. Recognition of tenure rights of the poor and informal settlement dwellers has been an important driver of land reform in the region. Instruments that recognise the social functions of land have been used in Brazil and the primacy of collective rights to land recognised in Colombia. However, there is a broad consensus that recognition of rights to land has not been sufficient in integrating the poor into the urban fabric and economy. Upgrading of informal settlements has not ocurre don a sufficient scale, and the studies call for going beyond legal recognition of tenure, to addressing the increasing backlog of service provision in informal settlements. In addition, more efforts in availing land for the urban poor need to be made, and this should include financing and lifting the ever-present threat of evictions.

A change in patriarchal attitudes through education programmes is also required to improve women’s access to land and housing rights.

The subject of this chapter, Brazil highlights a number of other specific recommendations. While substantial positive developments in law and policy have emerged, which include many lessons for other countries in the region, full implementation of these developments is still a challenge. This is especially true with regard to the rights of women and members of indigenous groups. Laws that provide for the social function of land and regulation of leases also have yet to be widely implemented. Coordination at various levels of  government is lacking, and more efforts need to be made to streamline federal, state and municipal efforts.


Organización que publica: ONU-HABITAT
Autor: Marjolein Benschop; Leticia Marques Osorio; Marina Schneider Comandulli; Eugenia Zamora; Felicia Ramírez; Carla Morales; Stephen Berrisford; Michael Kihato; Nelson Saule Junior

  • Brazil

  • Acceso a suelos y tenencia segura
  • Legislación y políticas de suelos

Categoría: Investigaciones y estudios