In May 2021 the Land Portal conducted its fourth Annual Visitor Survey (AVS). The AVS is an important tool to assess impact, track progress and engage with the community, measuring the level of trust across visitors and partners, assessing the alignment with the current strategy, and identifying areas of improvement. With over 380 respondents from 80 different countries, this round of the Annual Survey provided plenty of results, insights, and ideas. The main points are summarised below.
All impact metrics improved in 2021, recording the best performance ever since the first harmonised AVS in 2018. The level of trust in the Land Portal has never been so high, but there is still room for improvements. Overall, the Land Portal is consolidating its position as the leading data and information sharing platform for land governance. The Land Portal is not seen as a simple online repository for data and information on land governance, but more as a multifunctional and inclusive knowledge exchange hub: different visitors use the Portal not only to find information and to stay up to date with the latest developments and news in land governance, but also to learn, discuss, share, reach out, connect with other stakeholders and experts, and improve the quality of work.
Most respondents (59%) stated that the COVID crisis had no impact on their use of the Land Portal, and new users joined the Portal during the pandemic. However, for some visitors (10.4%), issues of poor connectivity and cost barriers were amplified during the pandemics, reducing their ability to access the internet and connect to the site. For others (24.2%), working from home made the Land Portal a crucial resource to stay informed, conduct research and connect with stakeholders and colleagues in spite of different travel and work restrictions.
Areas of Improvement
For the 3rd year in a row, only 1 in 3 visitors identified as female; they tended to be younger and more engaged than those who identified as male. While this might reflect the fact that land governance is often a male-dominated sector, it also suggests that there is still room to make the Land Portal even more inclusive for women and younger audiences, harnessing their willingness to engage more with the land community.
The survey also revealed some important changes in respondents’ interest and appreciation for different content types. Country Pages, Issue Pages and bibliographic resources remain the most wanted content types, and while the interest in webinars and discussion increased significantly, the appetite for data and maps decreased over the last 12 months. This suggests that it is a good time to reflect on how to present and communicate better data and maps, increasing their integration with other content types in high demand on the Land Portal: webinars, news, country pages, videos and multimedia.
The pandemic increased inequalities, also amplifying economic and technical barriers that were already limiting the ability of poor and marginalised population groups to access the internet and therefore the Land Portal. While the accessibility of the resources hosted on the platform is widely recognised as one of the key features of the Land Portal, visitors suggested some improvements around multilingualism and low bandwidth accessibility, as well as more attention to the needs of visually impaired people.
A number of global information challenges continue to undermine efforts towards a better land governance:
- Poorly managed data from local sources leaves vital information inaccessible
- Discussions about land governance often excludes grassroots voices
- Land data often remains fragmented, incomplete, and closed data
Together with these information challenges, visitors also highlighted a number of systemic challenges affecting land governance, including institutionalised corruption, disinformation and fake news, and incomplete information over Indigenous People and customary land rights.
The fourth Land Portal User Survey confirms that tastes, interests, and needs of the community are very diverse and constantly evolving over time, reflecting the rapid changes that characterise land governance and its information ecosystem. Keeping track and keeping up with these changes is a major challenge for the LP, but it also remains a fundamental part of its mission – a part that cannot be achieved without a continuous dialogue with visitors and partners.