100 Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure: Advancing women's land rights towards achieving the SDGs

Partnerships for implementation - Stories from the field.

Organizers

  • FAO
  • Global Land Tool Network
  • UN-Habitat

Abstract

This side event sets against the backdrop of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), endorsed by the CFS in 2012 and, more recently, of the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

The purpose of the side event is to update the CFS members of the progress in the implementation of the VGGT and to present how regional cooperation among national actors and development partners can support the achievement of SDGs targets by improving tenure governance.

Gender equality is one of the 10 main principals of implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure. FAO is a custodian agency for the SDGs indicator 5.a.2 on women's land ownership and control, which echoes the principle of gender equality in the VGGTs and was inserted under Goal 5 of the SDGs on gender equality and women's empowerment, as an acknowledgment of the crucial part that women's tenure security plays in the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development. Greater equality in the ownership and control over land contributes to economic efficiency and has positive multiplier effects for the achievement of a range of other SDGs including poverty reduction (Goal 1), food security (Goal 2) and the welfare of households, communities and countries (Goals 3, 11 and 16, among others).

The event will capitalize on the opportunities the SDG 2030 process offers to secure women's land rights and foster countries' interest and commitment in advancing women's land rights by adopting policies and legal reforms and putting them into practice. It will also outline the methodology FAO developed to monitor progress on the SDG indicators related to women's land rights.
Western Balkans are among the first countries, where the methodology for the SDGs indicator 5.a.2 has been tested and action plans developed to achieve the indicator. The regional exchanges and sharing good practices motivated governments from the region to undertake legislative actions to strengthen gender equality. Despite these achievements, longstanding customs and traditions continue to favor male property ownership and further efforts will be needed by all parties. A high level government representative from Albania has been invited as panelist.

Good practices from the Arab's countries and Africa will be shared.

Civil society plays a catalytic role in the reform process and the second panelist will be providing the civil society perspective of what has been achieved since the VGGT endorsement in fostering women's land rights and where the bottlenecks are.

The side event will provide opportunities for interventions from the floor, sharing success stories and pointing out areas, where improvements are needed. We are planning to bring key stakeholders representatives to the audience, including private sector, government, CSOs, indigenous peoples, academia and others to contribute to the discussions.

Key speakers/presenters

  • MARCELA VILLARREAL, Director, Partnership and South-South Cooperation Division, FAO
  • ELIRA KOKONA, The State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice of Albania
  • OUMAR SYLLA, Head of Land and Global Land Tool Network Unit, UN-HABITAT
  • ISATA MAHOI, National Network Coordinator, WANEP Sierra Leone
  • CRISTINA TIMPONI TIMBIAGHI, Thematic Coordinator Manager, ILC
  • ABOUBA SAIDOU AGALI, Facilitator of the Technical Committee in charge of the process of elaborating the Land Policy in Niger

Main themes/issues discussed

Women's tenure security plays a crucial role in the eradication of poverty and the achievement of sustainable development. FAO is a custodian agency for the SDG indicator 5.a.2 on women's land ownership and control. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of land fisheries and forests in the context of national food security (VGGT) are key to promoting women’s rights to land. The VGGT are creating spaces for female empowerment, but not only, it is creating a new government model and developing capacities for people to interact on equal ground. Progress has been made, from changes in land policies and laws to assessing national legislation.

In addition, the VGGT have promoted dialogue in particularly complex contexts, such as the recognition and protection of women’s rights in customary tenure systems, and has enabled female leaders to know, promote and defend their rights to land and natural resources.

Summary of key points

During the event, representatives from the Global Land Tool Network, the International Land Coalition and the Albanian Ministry of Justice, and representatives from Sierra Leone and from Niger presented the main challenges and achievements in securing these rights.

The Western Balkans are among the first countries, where the methodology for the SDGs indicator 5.a.2 has been tested and action plans have been developed to achieve the indicator. Regional exchanges and sharing good practices motivated governments to undertake legislative actions to strengthen gender equality. Despite achievements, longstanding customs continue to favor male property ownership and further efforts will be needed by all parties.
Presentations highlighted the importance of strong participatory processes that include all relevant stakeholders and capacity building at the local level, both for community women and local authorities and the impact these have had in Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia. Institutions lack sufficient capacity and stakeholders need more support in order to mobilize new resources.

Key take away messages

The main challenge, once improved frameworks are in place, is to enhance capacity for enforcement. It is important to develop stakeholders’ capacity (particularly CSOs such as farmer associations, women’s organizations, etc.) at local and national level to leverage improved land policies and institutional frameworks to promote/engage in responsible investments in agriculture. Investment in land is fundamental but if not done in a responsible way it will leave people out, especially women.

Partnerships are key; for example, universities (i.e. with architecture and law faculties) can be real drivers of change at local level. Through partnerships with national Civil Society Organizations, efforts at strengthening capacities of CSOs to engage in national processes on tenure-related issues are taking place in over twenty countries.

A few suggestions were to improve capacity development, empower women’s groups, enable open source technology and mapping, and improve dialogue between community and cultural leaders. It is crucial to reach key change agents who can push for women’s land rights within the community, local and national government, (i.e. notaries in the Western Balkans, traditional chiefs). A combination of bottom-up and top-down approach should be considered and appropriate tools that are fit for purpose must be employed.

CFS Side Event 100 - Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure Advancing women's land rights towards achieving the SDGs