Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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  • GLTN underscores the role of land tenure monitoring in the 2030 and 2063 agendas 

    Africa soil week 

    Mr. Solomon Mkumbwa (third from right) on a panel discussing the links between land governance and sustainable land management in Africa. Photo: ©IISD

    The Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) participated in the inaugural Africa Soil Seminar held at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) 28-30 November 2016. Co-hosted by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the Agriculture Ministries from Kenya, Ethiopia, Benin and Burkina Faso, the seminar was held in the context ofThe Global Soil Week, a collective process and a knowledge platform for sustainable soil management and responsible land governance worldwide. Making GLTN’s contribution at the seminar, Mr. Solomon Mkumbwa underscored the crucial role that land tenure monitoring plays in both the 2030 United Nation’s Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and the African Union's Agenda 2063. With both agendas emphasizing inclusion by-“leaving no one behind”, the GLTN recognizes the need for inclusive economic growth that in turn requires equitable participation by the poor and marginalized men and women in generating and benefiting from economic growth.

    This effectively requires that governments embark on policy reforms that reduce systematic inequalities regarding human capital development, access to basic infrastructure and services, and access to productive resources such as land, water and forests. A failure to analyse and address the systematic inequalities in land access and tenure, such as gender-based disparities, often renders development investments ineffective. “A weak land administration service creates ambiguous and insecure tenure that in turn breeds conflicts and disputes over the land which scare off investors and adoption of soil and land improvement investments by farmers and other users; which leads to land degradation, low soil fertility and productivity; which results in poverty of farmers and food insecurity at national and household levels,” stated Mr. Mkumbwa.

    In 2012, together with the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, GLTN established the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) to develop a set of nationally applicable and globally comparable indicators for tracking land governance. A set of 15 land indicators, that go beyond the provisions of land indicators in the SDGs (for which UN-Habitat and World Bank are custodians of indicator 1.4.2) were developed, to monitor important areas of land governance and land use.

    Click here for a Summary of the African Soil Seminar by IISD Reporting Services

  • promoting gender equality foreign agricultural investmentsThis paper contributes to the emerging literature on the gendered impacts of the contemporary wave of foreign agricultural investments (Behrman, Meinzen-Dick & Quisumbing, 2012; Daley, 2011; Daley & Park, 2012; Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO], 2013a–d, 2015; Doss, Summerfield, & Tsikata, 2014). The outcomes of agricultural investments for men and women often differ in rural areas of the Global South where gender inequalities are persistent. Barriers to women’s access to productive resources— production inputs, credit and training—reduce female agricultural producers’ yields by 20–30 per cent from their full potential (FAO, 2011).

    Further, culturally based gender discrimination often leaves women with a heavier burden for care work, diminishes their access to education, restricts their access to land and limits options for decent paid work (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD], 2015). The evidence presented in this paper indicates that these inequalities are often exacerbated by foreign agricultural investments, unless investors and host country governments work to ensure that investment contracts address the needs of women farmers and agricultural workers.

    The purposes of this paper are three-fold. First, it seeks to analyze the gender-related content of the voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) and the responsible investment frameworks. Second, it attempts to answer the question “Do VSSs improve gender equality?” And third, it aims to explore how the responsible investment frameworks can build on the successes and failures of the VSSs to improve gender equality in agricultural investment projects.

    It uses the experiences of VSSs to provide guidance for responsible investment frameworks because the latter are quite new, and only scant anecdotal evidence about their impacts is available. The research is based on a desk review of the certification criteria and principles of five major VSS initiatives and five responsible investment frameworks, a literature review of the impacts of VSS initiatives on gender inequalities, and a close reading of policy reports and scholarly literature on the main obstacles to gender equality in agriculture, particularly in contexts of foreign direct investment.


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