Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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Up-coming land Events

  • 4 - 8 July 2014: 13th Session of the Open working Group (OWG) to the SDG
  • 2 - 3 July 2014 (tentative) The Land Policy Initiative of the Africa Union is organizing an EGM on land indicators in the context of Africa in Addis Ababa.
  • Jul 2014: Development Corporation Forum
  • Jul 2014: Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) as part of the ECOSOC High-level Segment
  • September 2014: 69th Session of the UN General Assembly
  • 11 - 14 November 2014, African Land Policy Conference, Accra - Ghana
  • Dec 2014: Secretary General report of the UN Secretary-General Report to cover "vision, principles, goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda, as well as the renewed Global Partnership for development", drawing on Open Working Group on SDGs and Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing.
  • 4 - 8 August 2015: 5th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee of experts on Sustainable Development Financing, New York
  • Sep. 2015: leaders' declaration, similar to the Millennium Declaration

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The Global Land Indicators Initiative is a collaborative and inclusive process for the development of the Global Land Indicators started by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), UN-Habitat and the World Bank (WB), facilitated by GLTN. This initiative has now grown to include over 30 institutions around the world ranging from UN Agencies, Inter-governmental Organizations, International Nongovernmental Organizations, Farmer Organizations and the Academia.

The Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) was established in 2012 with the aim to harmonize monitoring efforts around land tenure and governance. GLII seeks to derive a list of comparable and harmonized land indicators. To achieve this, GLII is exploring the range of monitoring mechanisms and data collection methods. The Initiative is supporting global and regional frameworks such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs), agreed by 193 Member States and supported by civil society on the one hand, and the Framework and Guidelines (F&G) on land policy in Africa, a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on the other. GLII intends to foster partnership, inclusiveness, consultation, evidence-based indicators, people-centered approach and sustainability.


Secure access to land for a range of land users has increasingly been recognized as a critical aspect in the attainment of various development goals, from poverty reduction, food security, gender equality and women's empowerment, sustainable cities and human settlements, ecosystems and biodiversity, to peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable institutions. For farmers, urban dwellers and all kinds of commercial ventures - small and large - secure tenure over land assets is part of an enabling environment for investment that raises productivity, creates income and helps to overcome poverty and food insecurity. For women, having secure tenure rights over land and associated natural resources, as well as housing and business assets is critical to attaining effective equal rights and power within the household, community and society. The respect and protection of legitimate tenure rights is important to the realization of a range of human rights, include rights to adequate housing and food, and the territorial rights of indigenous peoples.

Understanding of tenure rights has also advanced in recent years. It is widely agreed that legitimate tenure rights should be seen as going beyond narrow categories of ownership and formally registered rights, to include a continuum of tenure rights. Particularly in many post-colonial contexts, a high proportion of legitimate land users rely on customary or informal forms of tenure that do not enjoy legal recognition and or protection. Although this has always been an issue of concern, it is becoming more pressing in the context of intense investor interest in land in developing countries. Recognition of a continuum of tenure implies recognizing such rights as legitimate and taking measures to enhance their protection, including through different forms of recording, as well as through legal reform.

Currently, a large gap exists between the recognized policy importance of tenure and our ability to measure progress on this issue. Despite very many indicators being proposed by different stakeholders, piloted and used in different contexts, globally comparable datasets on key tenure issues, such as measures of tenure security and the distribution of access to land do not exist. Where data is collected, indicator definitions and methodologies vary greatly. Furthermore, geographical and temporal coverage is usually limited.

The above limitations create obstacles to the proper tracking of policy processes, particularly at city, national and global levels. At the same time the need for land policy monitoring mechanisms has increased. Two frameworks particularly stand out. The VGGTs, and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa provide benchmarks and create an opportunity for governments and other actors to track and monitor progress. The possible inclusion of land-related targets in the Post-2015 Development Agenda/Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) also creates a need for globally comparable datasets on key land issues. In 2013 in particular, the UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda has suggested the following targets:

(1b) "Increase by xx% share of women and men, communities and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets"; and

(2c) "Ensure equal right of women to own and inherit property, sign a contract, register a business and open a bank account".

The 10th Session of the Open Working Group (OWG) to the SDGs has these targets on land found in different focus areas.

  1. SDG focus area 1. Poverty eradication, building shared prosperity and promoting equality
    Proposed Target in the SDGs:
    Target f: ensure equality of economic opportunity for all women and men, including secure rights to own land, property and other productive assets and access to financial services for all women and men
  2. SDG focus area 2. Sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition
    End hunger and improve nutrition for all through sustainable agriculture and improved food systems
    Proposed SDG target:
    Target f: all countries have in place sustainable land-use policies by 2020, and all drought-prone countries develop and implement drought preparedness policies by 2020
  3. SDG focus area 5. Gender equality and women's empowerment
    Attain gender equality and women's empowerment everywhere
    Proposed SDG target:
    Target e: by 2030 ensure equal access to, and control of, assets and resources, including natural resources management.
  4. SDG focus area 10. Sustainable cities and human settlements
    Build inclusive, safe and sustainable cities and human settlements
    Proposed SDG target:
    Target a: By 2030, ensure universal access to adequate and affordable housing and basic services for all, and eliminate slum-like conditions everywhere
    Target c: enhance capacities for integrated urban planning and management
  5. SDG focus area 14. Ecosystems and biodiversity
    Protect and restore terrestrial ecosystems and halt all biodiversity loss
    Proposed targets in the SDGs
    Target d: by 2030, ensure sustainable management of all forests and mountain ecosystems, halting deforestation and increasing reforestation by x%
    Target e: by 2030, achieve a land degradation neutral world
  6. SDG focus area 16.
    Peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable Institutions Peaceful and inclusive societies, rule of law and capable institutions
    Proposed SDG target:
    Target b: by 2030 provide equal access to independent and responsive justice systems including related to property and tenure rights, employment, business, taxation, trade and finance
    Target b: by 2030 eliminate discriminatory laws, policies and practices, empower marginalized groups, in the social, political and economic fields
    Target c: by 2030 establish inclusive, participatory decision-making, including at local governments, taking into consideration the interests of future generations

Identifying feasible land indicators and monitoring mechanisms for the Post-2015 Agenda/SDGs is particularly urgent. A land tenure indicator planned as an identifier for slums within the MDG monitoring framework was never operationalized because of feasibility obstacles. This time round, the inclusion of land issues is possibly much more significant (i.e. at the target level), but is likely to depend on outlining a feasible measurement approach well ahead of time. The critical remaining window of opportunity for influencing the process is within 2014.

Work done so far

  • In September 2012, UN-Habitat, the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), met in Naples, Italy, to discuss how to advance the harmonization of global land indicators through a multi-stakeholder consultative process.
  • In April 2013, MCC, UN-Habitat and the World Bank jointly convened an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in Washington DC. This meeting was hosted by GLTN. It discussed a draft land indicators framework and ways in which a road map on land indicators could be developed, particularly in the context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the need for monitoring/tracking mechanisms for the VGGT and F&G. The EGM was attended by the AU-led Land Policy Initiative (LPI), the Earth Security Initiative, Habitat for Humanity, the Huairou Commission, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Landesa, the Omidyar Network and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), among others. Participants agreed on key messages, a road map for action leading up to this EGM, and requested the conveners to implement the road map.
  • Between April and November 2013, implemented the recommendations of the April 2013 EGM, background research was conducted by GLTN to produce a database on land indicators and monitoring processes and a draft Issue Paper. E-consultations took place in October 2013 and produced additional inputs into this Initiative. The draft indicators framework produced for the April 2013 meeting is also available.
  • 8-9 November 2013 GLTN facilitated an Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on land indicators in the Hague, The Netherlands, as a pre-event to the GLTN Partners' Meeting. The EGM brought together a diverse range of participants with a common interest in developing and collecting common land indicators, and in leveraging resources to deliver on indicator recommendations for the Post-2015 process. Participants included UN agencies, international finance institutions, bilateral donors, civil society networks, government technical specialists and independent experts. Some of the outcomes of the EGM include the proceedings, a Communiqué and the One Pager for advocacy purpose.
  • 21-22 February 2014 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat), the International Land Coalition Secretariat (ILC), the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat (GLTN) and OXFAM organized an International Workshop on Land Indicators in Rome, Italy.
  • In March 2014, an EGM was held in Washington back to back with the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference with the aim of delving into the feasibility of collecting data on the proposed indicators. The indicators were subjected to a further scrutiny and the results of this EGM are contained in the communiqué.

Other global efforts are under way to steer the Global Land Indicator Initiative forward, especially in the discussion around the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

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Location: Gigiri, UN Complex
Office: NOF South Wing Block 3
Telephone: +254 207623858
Email: gltn[at]

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