SDG indicator 5.a.2 measures the extent to which a country’s legal framework supports women’s ownership and/ or control over land including inheritance rights for women and girls. Progress towards the SDG target will be determined by the extent to which countries have incorporated internationally recognized standards, particularly from the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) and the International Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), into their legal frameworks. Existing statutory laws are assessed against the six following proxies:
Proxy A: Joint registration of land compulsory or encouraged through economic incentives
Proxy B: Compulsory spousal consent for land transactions
Proxy C: Women’s and girls’ equal inheritance rights
Proxy D: Allocation of financial resources to increase women’s ownership and control over land
Proxy E: In legal systems that recognise customary land tenure, existence of explicit protection of the land rights of women
Proxy F: Mandatory quotas for women’s participation in land management and administration institutions
According to the metadata document, the legal and policy framework encompasses the Constitution, primary and secondary legislation as well as existing policies. Control over land is defined as the ability to make decisions over land, its usage and benefits. In addition to legally acquired land, land ownership in systems where land is owned by the state refers to long-term leases, tenancy, or use rights, to name but a few. The indicator also considers customary legal systems that have been recognised by the state and regulated in national law. It also takes into account the rights of partners in consensual unions when the legal framework recognises such unions.
Data sources include publicly available legal instruments on land (including land registration), family, marriage, inheritance, and gender equality. Only the proxies found in the legally binding primary and secondary legislations are considered in the reporting, but the methodology encourages countries to also review bills, and policies to monitor progress against the 6 proxies. Once the legal assessment is completed, the officially designated national institution(s) responsible for SDG indicators submits a reporting questionnaire to FAO for a quality check, to ensure that the assessment was carried out in accordance with the reporting methodology. Once the process is completed, the national institution officially submits its report to FAO. In 2019 and 2020, 36 countries have reported on this indicator.
As this is one of the few legal indicators in Agenda 2030, one of the key challenges in the reporting lies with the identification of national institutions responsible for SDG indicator 5.a.2. Owing to the nature of this indicator, FAO recommends the nomination of high-level focal points within institutions with a mandate on land, agriculture, justice or gender equality. The responsible institution(s) for SDG indicator 5.a.2 should then nominate a legal expert to carry out the assessment in accordance with the reporting methodology. Another methodological challenge concerns the assessment and computation of heterogenous customary tenure systems.
By Anne Hennings, peer-reviewed by Everlyne Nairesiae, GLII Coordinator at the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) at GLTN, Un-Habitat and Clinton Omusula, Land Data and Knowledge Management Specialist at the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) at GLTN, UN-Habitat, as well as FAO.