- Asian regional members of the International Land Coalition (ILC) called for greater recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to control their land and resources and their own development.
- PROFOR published a study analyzing forest tenure regimes in Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru.
- During a regional inception workshop convened by the LPI and IFPRI, 12 African countries embarked on the pilot ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Land in Africa’ (MELA) project.
- In Nicaragua, a US$18 million loan from the World Bank will be used to improve the legalization, titling and property registration services.
July 2017: Various initiatives presented at the 2017 High-level Political Forum (HLPF), as well as ongoing multi-stakeholder efforts at national and regional levels, underscore the role of land tenure security in meeting agreed development goals and targets. Through these projects and publications, land rights advocates and stakeholders are demonstrating the links between land governance and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including targets on health and food security, human rights, poverty eradication, sustainable land management, biodiversity protection and climate change.
On the sidelines of HLPF 2017, Asian regional members of the International Land Coalition (ILC), including the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and Kapaeeng Foundation (KF), called for greater recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to control their land and resources and their own development. The network expressed support for current efforts by the “custodians” of SDG indicator 1.4.2 on land tenure security to develop a standard methodology for gathering data on land tenure security worldwide and enabling the indicator to be incorporated in the formal SDG monitoring process. SDG indicator 1.4.2 measures “the 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.” [ILC Press Release on HLPF 2017 Events] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on efforts to develop methodology to track SDG Indicator 1.4.2 on land tenure security]
In Latin America, a study of forest tenure regimes published by the World Bank-hosted Program on Forests (PROFOR) found evidence of improved land tenure for marginalized groups that, according to the study team, “is driven by governments realizing that they don’t have the capacity to adequately manage forests, and by the demands of local communities advocating for forest rights.” One of the key findings of the study, which adopted the “bundle of rights” concept to analyze land tenure systems in Argentina, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru, was that seven out of the 10 tenure systems investigated “meet all of the requirements for a full bundle of rights” by entitling communities to: access forests and exclude others from doing so; use and manage forest resources at their discretion; challenge a government’s decision to infringe on these rights; and hold these rights indefinitely. The study drew lessons to help advance the realization of similar land tenure reforms in other countries and support various World Bank programmes to increase attention and support to indigenous and community forest tenure. [PROFOR Press Release] [Securing Forest Tenure Rights for Rural Development: Lessons from Six Countries in Latin America]
During a regional inception workshop convened by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) – a joint programme of the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) – and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 12 African countries embarked on the pilot ‘Monitoring and Evaluation of Land in Africa’ (MELA) project. The project aims to track progress in the implementation of the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges, which was launched in 2010 to enhance land governance in Africa. The project aims to, inter alia: develop a comprehensive database; support the documentation and dissemination of best practices in land policy development and implementation; and build the capacity of AU member States to regularly track and report on their progress. [ECA Press Release]
In another regional initiative, co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and LPI, project staff and key focal points from 12 African country projects supported by the EU Land Governance Programme met to exchange experiences, develop skills and learn about innovative ideas to implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT). Among other issues, participants discussed the practical use of international instruments, responsible agricultural investments, the importance of capacity assessments and innovative technologies for land governance. As part of the EU-funded programme, which runs from 2014 to 2020, the FAO and LPI are providing “Transversal Support” to the 12 countries by bringing together internationally recognized expertise in related thematic areas, including land and forest tenure, fishery rights, gender, legal aspects of tenure, agriculture investments, emergencies and capacity development. [The EU Land Governance Programme]
The EU-funded initiative is among diverse national and regional initiatives to advance the implementation of the VGGT that are highlighted in the July 2017 edition of FAO’s Governance of Tenure Newsletter. [FAO Governance of Tenure Newsletter, July 2017]
The FAO publication also highlights the launch of a national action plan for the implementation of the newly adopted Agricultural Land Law in Mali as one of the successes of a national multi-stakeholder platform. It notes that the platform was instrumental in advocating for the adoption of the law by the National Assembly in March 2017. By enabling farmers to secure access to their traditional land, it is expected that the new law will give farmers more confidence to invest in their land, hence boosting economic development in rural areas. The enactment of new law marks a first time in the legislative history of Mali that a specific legal framework has been put in place to govern agricultural land. Previously, agricultural land was managed under customs and statutory law, including the Land Code, the decentralization laws and the Pastoral Charter. [IISD Blog on Mali Land Tenure Law]
In Nicaragua, a US$18 million loan from the World Bank will be used to improve the legalization, titling and property registration services and is expected to benefit 800,000 land owners, as part of the Second Land Administration Project in Nicaragua. So far, the project has registered and legalized land titles – including the collective titling of indigenous lands – in nearly 30% of Nicaraguan territory. As part of the property legalization activities, the original project granted 75,000 families legal title to their lands, of which more than 54,000 were new titles, with 57% of titles allocated to women. [World Bank Press Release]