Trustable land information systems are fundamental for responsible land governance. There is a need for sustainable, transparent, reliable data to empower people and support sustainable development. As such, access to timely and reliable information on land rights is essential to responsible and accountable land governance.
With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they provide additional context in the discussion of land governance. In the UN General Assembly resolution 70/1 (25 September 2015) by which the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted, the General Assembly decided that the Sustainable Development Goals and targets will be followed up and reviewed using a set of global indicators developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators. As a follow-up and review of the SDGs, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will be informed by an annual progress report to be prepared by the Secretary-General in cooperation with the United Nations system, based on the global indicator framework, as agreed by the Statistical Commission. The Resolution further notes the need for the strengthening of national data systems.
Furthermore, UN resolution 2006/6 (24 July 2006) called upon the United Nations system, including the United Nations Statistics Division and the regional commissions and international agencies to “support national efforts in building and strengthening national statistical capacity, in particular of developing countries, and avoiding imputation unless specific country data are available for reliable imputations following consultations with concerned countries and through transparent methodologies.”
However, as was found by studies conducted by the Land Watch Asia’s Land Monitoring Working Group (LWA LMWG) in 2018, while National Statistical Offices (NSOs) collect some data on land rights, they are unfamiliar or uninvolved in the policy side of land governance. Hence, it is strategic to engage the NSOs with the view of influencing them given their important role in the reporting of the SDGs.
Moreover, in addition to the SDGs, alternative measures of development and of land rights in particular exist. The International Land Coalition (ILC) has initiated the monitoring of land rights through the LANDex, which aims to democratize sources of and access to information on land. The LANDex complements the SDGs in many ways and is a useful tool in providing people-sourced data.
All these monitoring initiatives must be contextualized with contemporary challenges in mind, among the most pressing of which is climate change. Climate change physically affects land and thus has implications on peoples’ access to land. Conversely, land rights affect how people and communities adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects.
This project envisions that communities are able to protect and defend their land rights as a result of the availability of relevant and timely land data. Hence, armed with transparent and reliable data and information, the Land Watch Asia (LWA) campaign through this initiative, shall contribute to influencing the land policy formulation and monitoring the implementation processes in countries involved thus leading to increased tenurial security of rural stakeholders (i.e., farmers, tillers, women, pastoralists, indigenous peoples).
To achieve this goal, LWA shall enhance the capacities of civil society organisations to:
- engage national governments, intergovernmental (IGOs) and regional organisations and international financial institutions (IFIs) in constructive policy dialogue to uphold the rights of communities to land and food, especially on policies and programs that affect the equitable distribution of land to Asia’s rural poor;
- monitor the status and processes of landlessness, resolve/mediate land conflicts, conduct land use planning and mapping, facilitate post-distribution services, study the linkages of land with food security, climate change, and other emerging issues/themes; and,
- build solidarity and alliances with social movements, community-based organisations, and other sectors towards common action on these issues, and develop a new generation of land rights advocates.
In 2018, the LWA Land Monitoring Working Group (LWA LMWG) worked towards this through conducting studies on the capacity of NSOs to report on SDG 1.4.2, scoping the availability of land data, and through the conduct of land rights monitoring reports.
From 2020 to 2021, the working group will build on the gains of 2018 through a) continuing engagements with NSOs on the SDGs, and conducting shadow reports on the SDGs, b) piloting selected indicators of ILC’s LANDex in 7 countries, and c) embarking on studies on land rights and climate change in Asia. The countries to be engaged are Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal and Philippines.
In terms of outcomes, the group will work towards the following:
- Changes in policy
Follow-up on the in-country and regional recommendations included in the 2018 LWA Land Rights Monitoring Reports
Inform the creation of policies or improve the implementation of existing ones by creating a better understanding on the link between tenure and climate change
- Changes in practice
For NSOs and land agencies to be more open to partnerships with CSOs, particularly on the monitoring of progress towards the SDGs (especially SDGs 1.4.2)
For policymaking bodies, CSOs, and other stakeholders to be more involved in enhanced dialogue mechanisms on achieving SDGs at the country level
- Strengthened capacity for transformation
Strengthen CSOs’ capacities to monitor land rights and use available data from LWA land monitoring reports and selected LANDex indicators, for policy work and advocacies in 7 countries
Enable CSOs to contribute to national policy discussions on global agreements, by producing shadow reports on SDGs related to land
Contribute to knowledge of CSOs and communities on adapting to climate change and mitigating its effects, by producing reports on the link of tenure-climate change in Asia
Where we work
Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, the Philippines
STAR Kampuchea, Cambodia