By Elisa Mandelli and Andrea Wyers, with contributions from Everlyne Nairesiae (GLII-GLTN)

From 8 to 9 July Elisa Mandelli, representing IFAD, was in New York to participate in the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Securing Women's Land Rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting was jointly organized by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) in partnership with Landesa, Oxfam, Huairou Commission and UN Women. Over 40 gender and women’s land rights experts participated, including representatives from national statistical offices, Civil Society Organizations CSOs, UN agencies, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders.

The EGM preceded the United Nations High Level Political Forum held in New York from the 10 to 19 July 2017. The Forum focused on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world" and on the review of some SDGs, including goals with land-related indicators such as:

  • Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.
    Indicator 1.4.2 : Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure (disaggregated by sex and type of tenure).
  • Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
    Indicator 5.a.1 (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure.
    Indicator 5.a.2 Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.

The inclusion of land indicators that explicitly reflect women’s land rights in the SDGs is a major achievement for the land community and a significant point of departure from the Millennium Development Goals, which did not have these provisions. This achievement is attributed to high level advocacy at national, regional and global levels by the land community including the GLII, the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL), FAO, UN Women, UN Sustainable Solution Network (UNSDSN) and other networks, CSOs and agencies who have strongly advocated for the inclusion of land indicators in the SDGs.

The importance of securing women's land rights to eradicate poverty has also been identified by the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) as one of the critical areas for advocacy and action of the African member states. As part of this engagement and within the framework of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the African Land Policy Initiative (LPI) is negotiating member states’ commitment in monitoring the progress of women’s land rights and increasing to a minimum of 30% the amount of land allocated (individually or jointly) to women. The LPI has also played a key role in advocating for the African Union recent endorsement of the Pan African Women’s Charter on Land Rights. The Charter resulted from the Kilimanjaro Initiative, which has mobilized rural women from 22 countries across Africa. The Charter includes 15 specific demands addressing women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose of their land and natural resources with the ultimate aim to help empower women across the continent.

Thus, the land tenure community can celebrate the progress made in raising awareness on the importance of women’s land rights and the monitoring of progress made, but is now challenged to define the methodology for measuring the progress on these indicators and ensuring that the reporting contributes to the women’s land rights agenda. Land tenure statistics are in fact highly complex and there is a lack of clear and consistent data on land tenure security, particularly when it comes to statistics disaggregated by gender. See also blog on gender equality.

 

Within this framework, the purpose of the EGM was to examine land indicators in the SDGs and to promote meaningful and more harmonised approaches to monitoring women’s land rights in a coordinated manner. In particular, participants agreed on the need to promote the harmonization and complementarity of land-related indicators based on a single and integrated narrative of concepts and definitions (i.e. land tenure security, ownership, tenure type, etc.). This includes strengthening the level of robustness of the proposed methodologies using proxies for women specific issues noting that women are not a homogenous group.

Moreover, participants committed to convey key messages and recommendations on women’s land rights to UN member states during their participation at the High Level Political Forum. Messages included the importance to monitor the progress on women’s secure land rights since not having the data to diagnose and monitor progress made in the context of the SDGs will be a missed opportunity to eradicate poverty and empower women and girls. In order to ensure immediate country data collection and reporting on secure tenure rights (1.4.2., 5.a.1 and 5.a.2), member states have to support the adoption of the proposed methodologies for monitoring the indicators at the 6th Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) to be held in November 2017. Further information on the re-classification of land-related indicators can be found in the blog by Jamal Browne, a participant of the EGM. 

IFAD is looking forward to continuing its engagement with the GLII, the GDWGL and the custodian agencies responsible for the specific land indicators including UN Habitat and World Bank; FAO and other agencies to support the elaboration of the proposed methodology and their successful reclassification by IAEG-SDGs in November 2017. On this subject, IFAD and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat are collaborating in the co-financed grant “Strengthening capacity for assessing the impact of tenure security measures on IFAD supported and other projects within the SDG framework”. The grant aims at improving the capacity of IFAD-supported projects to assess measure and report their impact on poor rural people’s tenure security, including on women’s land rights.

 

This blog was originally posted on the IFAD Social Reporting Blog.