By Harold Liversage, regional land advisor, and Steven Jonckheere, land and natural resources associate for IFAD in East and Southern Africa.
During the 2014 Global Staff Meeting, IFAD and the Secretariat of the International Land Coalition (ILC) organised a thematic session on lessons, challenges and opportunities for IFAD to scale up its support for land tenure security and governance. The session is part of an on-going consultation to develop a strategic approach on how scaling up can be achieved in this thematic area and was moderated by Ed Heinemann (Policy Dialogue Adviser). Madiodio Niasse (Director of the ILC secretariat) gave an overview of the global context and Harold Liversage (Regional Land Adviser) focused on the important of land tenure security for IFAD and the challenges and opportunities it faces for scaling up. Two colleagues from IFAD country offices shared their experiences, namely Pontian Muhwezi (Country Programme Officer for Uganda) and Stefania Dina (Country Programme Manager for Laos). The session was attended by a variety of people from various divisions (e.g. five regional divisions, Environment and Climate Change Division, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, Strategy and Knowledge Department, Partnership and Resource Mobilisation Office), including a significant number of colleagues from IFAD country offices.
Developing countries throughout the world are currently experiencing unprecedented pressures on land and natural resources; a host of factors has prompted sharp increases in demand for land, water, grassland and forested areas in developing and emerging countries. These drivers, combined with climate change and population growth, have led to increasing investments and speculation in agricultural and forestlands. While the data seems to indicate that millions of hectares of land in developing countries are being newly leased or sold, an accurate picture regarding scale and impact has been difficult to obtain, due to a widespread lack of transparency involved in such transactions.
Most national land policy reforms undertaken in the last decade recognize the legitimacy of customary land rights. Gender equality is also now high on the policy agenda. In addition to the increasing recognition of land tenure security, there are a number of global and regional frameworks that seek to provide high‐level guidance to the nature and content of land policy processes and tenure security initiatives. The scaling up of tenure security is a key concern for these institutional and policy responses.
IFAD and land tenure security
IFAD uses various tools and approaches to strengthen poor rural people’s access and tenure and their ability to better manage land and natural resources, individually and collectively. These include: recognizing and documenting group rights to rangelands and grazing lands, forests and artisanal fishing waters; recognizing and documenting smallholder farmers’ land and water rights in irrigation schemes; strengthening women’s secure access to land; using geographic information systems to map land and natural resource rights, use and management; identifying best practices in securing these rights through business partnerships between smallholder farmers and investors. The tools and approaches are incorporated in broader rural development programmes.
IFAD’s partners in this endeavour include governments, civil society organizations, development institutions and other United Nations agencies, particularly the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). IFAD is also a founding member of the International Land Coalition and hosts its secretariat. In 2008, IFAD’s Executive Board endorsed a new policy on access to land and tenure security, underscoring the importance of land issues to the organization.
IFAD has an important role to play in scaling up support for land tenure security and governance. This will be done by documenting and sharing its experiences, piloting new approaches, engaging in evidence-based policy dialogue and forging partnerships.
In Laos, IFAD has been supporting activities to secure the land and natural resource rights of its target groups in its projects and programmes. Given the gaps that existed in the legal framework, the country team decided to engage in the revision of the land policy to ensure that the rights of IFAD’s target groups are secured. The revision of the policy is still on-going, but seems to be going in the right direction. This has been possible through the informal networks that the country team has set up, the role it plays in the national sector working group and the champions that are present at high level. In the District Livelihoods Support Programme in Uganda, IFAD has been successfully piloting the issuing of Certificates of Customary Occupancy to poorer segments of the community and strengthening the capacities of district land offices. The positive experience will now be replicated by the Government in other parts of the country.
Successful tools and approaches to strengthen poor rural people’s access and tenure and their ability to better manage land and natural resources can also be found in other countries. While in Nepal, IFAD has been supporting the issuance of leasehold forest titles to the poorest segments of the community, in Mozambique IFAD has contributed to the development of national guidelines on community-investor partnerships. Generally, IFAD interventions almost always have an impact on the value of land. In addition, the rural-urban nexus brings new land issues into play. However, often land issues are difficult to tackle given political sensitivities and it might be more challenging to secure customary rights. It is also important to take regional differences into consideration, while looking for entry points for IFAD to engage on these issues.
Many thanks to everybody who participated and we look forward to working with you on the development of an IFAD approach for scaling up support for land tenure security.
By Harold Liversage, regional land advisor, and Steven Jonckheere, land and natural resources associate for IFAD in East and Southern Africa.
|Picture by Shepherd Tozvireva / Oxfam Novib|
- The implementation environment – over which we have no influence
- Project startups – where IFAD has more control, and which are key to improving project performance.
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Capacity was then thrown into the mix as the cross-cutting issue influencing the implementation environments – human and technical capacity.
by Harold Liversage, the regional land advisor and Steven Jonckheere, land and natural resources associate for IFAD in East and Southern Africa
Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. It is a source of food, shelter, income and social identity. Secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty. But for many of the world’s poor rural people in developing countries, access is becoming more tenuous than ever. IFAD, FAO, UN-HABITAT, the International Land Coalition Secretariat, the Global Land Tools Network Secretariat and OXFAM co-organised a Workshop on Land Indicators on 21-22 February in Rome. The workshop is part of an on-going consultation to identify a set of indicators to monitor progress in land governance. The event brought together a range of stakeholders from governments, farmers’ organizations, civil society, multilateral organizations and institutions interested in food security and land issues. The need for common land indicators is greater than ever because of the monitoring demands have been, or will be, created by the post-2015 agenda, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs) and the Framework and Guidelines on land policy in Africa (F&GLPA). There is also demand for common frameworks for project monitoring and evaluation.
Global Land Indicator Initiative
The Global Land Indicator Initiative (GLII) was established in 2012 with the aim to support efforts to harmonize monitoring efforts around land tenure and governance. GLII seeks to derive a list of globally comparable harmonized land indicators, using existing monitoring mechanisms and data collection methods as a foundation. The Initiative is supporting global and regional frameworks such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs), agreed by 193 Member States and supported by civil society on the one hand, and the Framework and Guidelines (F&G) on land policy in Africa, a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on the other. The Initiative intends to foster partnership, inclusiveness, consultation, evidence-based indicators, people–centred approach and sustainability.
In September 2012, UN-Habitat, the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), met in Naples, Italy, to discuss how to advance the harmonization of global land indicators through a multi-stakeholder consultative process. Since then two other meetings have been organised on land indicators, one in April 2013 in Washington and another in November 2013 in The Hague, with an increasing number of participating organisations.
Concerns have been raised that the voices of civil society have not been coming out very strongly. This workshop has succeeded in broadening the participation in this initiative with a strong representation from farmers’ associations (such as Asian Farmers’ Association, East African Farmers’ Federation and the Network of Farmers' and Agricultural Producers' Organisations of West Africa), large networks such as the FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), the International Planning Committee for Food Security (IPC) and Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) of the Committee on Food Security (CFS).
Post-2015 agenda/Sustainable Development Goals
Some of the participants are involved in the wider process of developing and negotiating the post-2015 agenda/Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, it is important that momentum is maintained to ensure the inclusion of land-related targets and indicators in the final framework. Measurability is one factor that will be taken into account in finalizing the targets and indicators. Going forward, the post-2015 process to agree goals and targets will be mainly focused on intergovernmental negotiations, with the selection of the indicators also being a high-level process in which UN and other multilateral agencies will play a key role. High-level lobbying therefore needs to be taken forward by different stakeholders: intergovernmental partners, civil society organisations and supportive government representatives. Workshop participants agreed to support this process by providing key messages on why the land indicators and the targets they relate to are important, by showing that they enjoy wide support, and by showing that there are feasible mechanisms for assessment. IFAD has assigned strategic priority to participating in the global dialogue on the post-2015 development framework and will focus on four themes: i) Leveraging the rural-urban nexus for development; ii) An empowerment agenda for rural livelihoods; iii) Investing in smallholder family agriculture; and, iv) promoting resilience of poor rural households. Security of rural people’s tenure over land, property and other natural resources is the first cross cutting target area relevant for all the themes.
Harmonizing indicators for regional, national, sub-national and project monitoring
The initiative seeks to address these other harmonization demands in parallel. The VGGT and F&GLPA provide benchmarks and create an opportunity for governments and other actors to track and monitor progress. Indicators are relevant to monitoring and tracking of the VGGT and F&G. Monitoring strategies for the VGGT and F&GLPA need to be developed through a very inclusive process of stakeholder involvement, and for that reason should be seen as a longer-term process. CFS will monitor the implementation of the VGGT and is a globally legitimate arena in which to expand the discussion on indicators. The participation in this workshop of HE Gerda Verburg (Chair of CFS) and HE Robert Saabiti (Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the Rome-based agencies and sitting on the CFS Bureau representing the Africa Region) has therefore been very important.
The harmonization of project monitoring indicators is also something that can be advanced in parallel. A number of different multilateral and bilateral donors support tenure and land governance-related projects and programs and employ indicator frameworks to monitor these. A key concern in such monitoring is to evaluate how projects and programs contribute to the implementation of global and regional goals and guidelines. Project monitoring can contribute to the collection of data on common global indicators so the relevant stakeholders need to be involved in the development of the latter.
There was a general agreement among participants that the post 2015 discussions and the possibility of getting an indicator/set of indicators and possibly even a target on tenure security/access into the SDG framework are a unique opportunity to promote the global land agenda. This can feed into the development of M&E frameworks for tracking progress in implementing the VGGT and F&GLPA. Nevertheless, care must be given to ensure the right indicators and targets are identified which provide an incentive for good land governance. This must be done in a transparent and inclusive manner. All participants committed themselves to contribute to this effort.
Many thanks to everyone involved in making the land indicators workshop a success.
“It was interesting to see how scientists started to calculate risks and tried to include complex calculations in their decision making process” adds van Aalst.
At IFAD’s first ever Global Staff Meeting, it was up to our staff to see if they could adapt to climate change and prevent for the impact of disasters.
The game showed in a fun and interactive way that climate change adaptation is full of challenges and uncertainties. Even though the participants all knew that floods may have large impacts on their villages – they wondered why invest in risk reduction, when they did not know if a disaster would actually hit their village. It was therefore quite attractive to spend money on short term benefits: you could only spend your money once.
“Although this game is a simplified version of reality, it sheds light on some of the factors that play out in our real-world project portfolio” said Gernot Laganda, Programme Coordinator for IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). “Some of our investments are carried away by floods, and project budgets need to be reconfigured to accommodate repair and restoration efforts. Being aware of climate risks before investing allows us to programme more resilient rural development projects.”
“Through ASAP, we introduce disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures into IFAD-supported development projects. These measures range from landscape-level interventions, such as watershed afforestation and the restoration of coastal greenbelts, to communal investments in early warning systems, more robust storage infrastructure and salt- or heat-tolerant crop varieties”.
The Red Cross game showed that decision making in relation to climate change and risk management, is quite a difficult task. Even when the will and knowledge to act is there: risks are complex to deal with in a world where money is scarce.
Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Senior Technical Advisor, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, IFAD
Informal viewpoint following participation in a side event on rural women during OWG8 meeting
At the OWG, many speakers affirmed gender equality as an end in itself, and called for a stand-along goal on gender equality as well as cross-cutting targets under other goals . UN Women is calling for a transformative goal, to further drive change and promote and monitor transformation in the structural determinants of gender-based inequality . The three components of the stand-alone goal are: freedom from violence; access to resources, knowledge and health; and voice, leadership and participation.
As we move forward in the SDG debate, it is essential to ensure that the sufficient attention is paid specifically to rural women. A factsheet prepared by UN agencies in 2012 on the progress of rural women against the MDGs - including the stand-alone goal MDG3 on gender equality - had as its main finding that ‘globally, and only with a few exceptions, rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women and men for every MDG indicator for which data are available’.
However, preparing the factsheet was frustrated by the lack of data, not only disaggregated by sex but also by rural-urban location. It also became evident that many of the 60 indicators used to track MDG progress did not resonate with the lives of rural women.
The rural dimension of the SDGs will be crucial for addressing hunger, poverty and environmental concerns. Today, more than 70 per cent of the extreme poor live in rural areas, widespread in low income countries and as pockets of poverty in middle income countries. It is estimated that smallholder farming supports the livelihoods of approximately 2.5 billion people and feeds about 5 billion. The drive to increase productivity will be vital as the urban population continues to grow, with an estimated 70 per cent of the global population living in urban areas by 2050. And in order to realise the potential of the smallholder sector, it will be essential to address gender inequalities which currently hinder production. Women farmers are major producers of food and yet their efforts are hampered by their lack of access to productive resources, inputs, technologies, services and markets. For a useful summary on the challenges facing rural women, watch "Who Feeds Our World?" produced by the Hunger Project.
What stories do we want to be able to tell about the situation of rural women through the SDG indicators?
The three objectives of the IFAD policy on gender equality and women’s empowerment provide a useful framework for identifying indicators relevant to the livelihoods of rural women. A number of indicators identified to track progress are listed below; many have already been noted by UN Women but those marked with an asterisk are new.
But in addition to these output and outcome indicators, it is essential to track whether there is any improvement in the quality of the lives of rural women. The indicators below are targets in their own right but they are also indicative of more profound changes linked to the transformative agenda. For example, if women are able to exercise their reproductive and health rights, or if there is a reduction in harmful traditional practices - such as early marriage or female genital mutilation – or a reduction in the perception that gender-based violence is acceptable behaviour, then these are indications that there has been a significant shift in thinking and behaviour change at the household level. Similarly, improvements in nutrition indicators for women and children demonstrate that women are able to exercise more voice in the allocation of household resources and prioritise nutrition benefits.SDG indicators for rural womenObjective 1: to promote economic empowerment to enable rural women and men to have equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, profitable economic activities:
- Access and control over resources: land ownership, property ownership, inheritance, use of financial services, bank accounts, secondary school enrolment and completion rates, literacy rates
- Participation in economic activities: registered businesses *, licensed traders in agricultural inputs/ produce *, female agricultural extension agents *, female veterinary officers *, gender gap in wages in agricultural/fisheries/ forestry sector *, percentage of low pay workers in agricultural / fisheries/ forestry sector *
- Access to and control over benefits: earning and controlling own income, mobile phone ownership, use of internetObjective 2: to enable women and men to have equal voice and influence in rural institutions and organizations:
- Rural producer organizations: membership*, leadership *, leadership of federations *
- Public institutions: seats held in local government (district and regional), national identity documentation, leadership of natural resource/community infrastructure management groups *, membership and leadership of civil society organizations active in rural areas *
- Households: decisions regarding large purchases, decisions regarding women’s health, decisions regarding visiting relatives, important decisions to be made jointlyObjective 3: to achieve a more equitable balance in workloads and in the sharing of economic and social benefits between women and men:
- Access to safe water and sanitation: time spent collecting water, proportion of population using improved source of drinking water, proportion of population use improved sanitation facility
- Access to modern/renewable energy sources: time spent collecting firewood, access to electricity, use of modern/renewable energy sources
Quality of life indicators for rural women
- Nutrition: anaemia in mothers, child stunting
- Health: maternal mortality, adolescent fertility, sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevalence
- Gender-based violence: sexual and/or physical violence, perceptions and attitudes that condone and justify violence against women and girls
- Harmful traditional practices: female genital mutilation, early marriage