Land is a finite resource, and access to it is essential for the livelihoods of individuals and communities. To ensure that access to land is secure and equitable for all, the United Nations has set the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1.4.2, which measures individuals' land tenure security, and SDG 5.a.1, which measures tenure security over agricultural land from a gender perspective. However, despite the importance of these indicators, countries are not regularly collecting and reporting data yet.
UN-Habitat has custodianship of one of these indicators (1.4.2) while FAO is the custodian agency for 5.a.1, and they are both currently at tier II level, which means that the conceptual framework is clear, and a global methodology is available. However, to achieve tier I status, regular data generation by at least 50% of countries and for populations in every region where an indicator is relevant is necessary. Currently, only 33 countries have reported on SDG indicator 1.4.2, and 47 countries have reported on SDG indicator 5.a.1.
To support countries in methodological uptake and reporting on 1.4.2 and 5.a.1, UN-Habitat and other lead agencies have implemented capacity building efforts through various projects. One such project led by UN-Habitat has supported four countries, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Tunisia, and Iraq in the first phase, while Phase 2, which is ongoing, supports five countries, namely Morocco, Zambia, DRC, Uganda, and Senegal. The final data estimates for the land indcators are being worked on for both phases. UN-Habitat plans to begin Phase 3 in mid-2023 based on interest from eight WAEMU/UEMOA countries namely: Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, and Togo.
A key lesson from these ongoing projects is the fact that financing for data collection and reporting is costly, and countries often require external financial support to collect and compile land indicators data due to the overwhelming number of indicators within the SDG framework. Indeed, financing for land indicators data has generally not increased over the years as initially envisioned, and to the contrary this financing has declined, neccesitating innovative solutions to overcome this challenge. Moreover, political goodwill is necessary to achieve the SDGs, particularly in Europe, Americas, and Oceania, where more needs to be done to improve the situation on land indicators reporting.
To advocate for evidence-based policies, linking governments to custodians for continuous engagement on data generation and reporting, powerful policy-oriented groups such as the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL) and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) are key. They play a significant role in urging governments to create policies based on data to increase demand for funding for data on land.
To further synchronize capacity building efforts at the national level towards tier I, custodian agencies for 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 are continuing to caucus. They will also draw from the findings of the survey planned for mid-May 2023 to map "low-hanging fruits" that can be supported soon enough to report on the indicators. Additionally, big data analytics can be used where possible to validate or narrow the data gaps that existing in reporting.
In conclusion, SDG indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 are essential for measuring individual and agricultural land tenure security, respectively. However, regular data generation by at least 50% of countries and for populations in every relevant region is necessary to achieve tier I status. To achieve this goal, innovative solutions are necessary to overcome the challenges, such as financing for data collection and reporting, political goodwill, and powerful policy-oriented groups advocating for evidence-based policies. By synchronizing efforts at the national level and using big data analytics, we can bridge the gaps in land data and achieve the SDGs.
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.
Last updated on 1 February 2022