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Platform Policy Brief

No. 11 // September 2015

Crucial land rights indicator for the Post-2015 SDGs

Platform policy briefs outline
the rationale for choosing a
particular policy alternative or
course of action in a current
policy debate. They guide
decision-makers with their
choices and advocate for a

Recommended indicator
With the forthcoming endorsement of Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) in September 2015, the land community is mobilised to ensure that land
rights are effectively addressed in such an important global agenda.
As of 11th August, the suggested indicator by the Inter-agency and Expert Group on
SDG indicators (Share of women among agricultural land owners by age and
location) reduces the scope of land rights included in the Post-2015 SDGs.

About the authors

This policy brief was drafted by
Romy Sato (Platform
secretariat), reflecting the views
of the members of the Global
Donor Working Group on Land.
The brief is based on a press
release by a broad coalition of
organisations and shared by

This brief is available in PDF at

The Global Donor Working Group on Land is convinced that no sustainable

development is possible without responsible governance of tenure of land and other
natural resources. In this sense, the Donor Working Group on Land strongly
supports the broader global land rights indicator:

Percentage of women, men, indigenous peoples, and local communities (IPLCs)

with secure rights to land, property, and natural resources, measured by:
a. percentage with legally documented or recognized evidence of tenure, and
b. percentage who perceive their rights are recognized and protected

The recommended indicator was developed under the Global Land Indicators
Initiative (GLII), which includes over 35 stakeholder organisations. The work has
been facilitated by UN-Habitat/GLTN funded by the Netherlands, both of which are
members of the Global Donor Working Group on Land.
This recommended global indicator is essential to four of the SDGs, namely: ending
poverty (goal 1), ensuring food security (goal 2), achieving gender equality and
empowering women (goal 5) and making cities and human settlements inclusive
(goal 11).
Moreover, the indicator assesses progress on two levels: based on documentation,
by tracking legal and administrative progress by governments in recognizing secure
rights to land, and based on perceptions, by tracking how people themselves
perceive progress on land rights.

Platform Policy Brief

About the Global Donor
Working Group on Land
In 2013 the Global Donor
Working Group on Land was
established to support enhanced
delivery on improved land
governance in a climate of
heightened attention, need and
awareness of existing challenges
and lessons.
In 2014, under the inaugural
chairmanship by DFID, the
Global Donor Working Group on
Land developed its 3-year road
map for 2014-2017, focusing on
coordination & cooperation,
boosting the country partnership
model, enhancing support to the
private sector and promoting
coherent approaches by donor
The full road map can be found
at https://www.donorplatform.

About the Platform

The Global Donor Platform for
Rural Development is a network
of 38 bilateral and multilateral
donors, international financing
institutions, intergovernmental
organisations and development
agencies. Members share a
common vision that agriculture,
rural development and food and
nutrition security (ARD and FNS)
are central to poverty reduction,
and a conviction that sustainable
and efficient development
requires a coordinated global

Where to place the indicator

It is recommended that the global land rights indicator be placed under Target 1.4,
Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
Target 1.4 calls for:
By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable,
have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services,
ownership and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance, natural
resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance.
This target includes all people regardless of where they reside, their livelihood
activities or the assets they own. Hence, the indicator must also reflect this diversity.

Beyond agricultural land and ownership

The Global Donor Working Group on Land also endorses the view that:
The land rights indicator must capture more than agricultural land
Indicators limited to agricultural land ignore millions of people who live in the forest,
practice pastoralism, live in rural areas but are not engaged in agricultural
production and many other cases which would be overlooked.
The land rights indicator must extend beyond ownership
Tenure security (or secure land rights) encompasses more than ownership and
should be the term used in the indicator. The term is also adopted at the globally
endorsed Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land,
Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).
The land rights indicator must track both gender ratio and overall progress
The indicator would track both women and men passing from insecure to secure
land rights and reduced gender inequality amongst those with secure land rights.

// Why the Working Group supports a land rights indicator

As largely engaged in the implementation of the VGGT, the Global Donor Working
Group on Land believes that securing land tenure is a key condition to achieve the
goals of eradicating poverty and hunger problems which are still more severe in
rural areas. Secure land rights will be particularly important given the changing rural
landscape in most developing countries, which face increasing demand for land for
competing uses, such as for biofuels, food production and as a safeguard against
climate change.