Sustainable Development Goals Explicitly Linked to Land Rights

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Subgoal 1.4 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

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Subgoal 2.3 By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Subgoal 5.a Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws.

Summary of Findings:

Institutional Arrangements for Cadastre and Registry

Two important elements of a land administration system are (1) the registry, which records the rights to land, and (2) the cadastre, which provides information on the location, boundaries, use, and values of land parcels. At the time that many of the projects, hereby examined, were prepared it was considered best practice for these tasks to be performed by the same agency. However, in many countries a dual or multi-agency model is used, reflecting historical and political realities.

A comparison of Bank Group experience across projects using different institutional structures indicates that there is no single best model for carrying out these functions and the structure alone will not ensure that potential efficiency gains are realized. The most effective institutional model for these functions is the one that best matches the prevailing political and institutional context of the country in which it is administered. There are a number of ways in which effective arrangements for coordination and data integration across institutions can be brought about, irrespective of the particular institutional model. (For more findings related to, Institutional Arrangements for Cadastre and Registry download the report).

Enhancing Tenure Security

Land administration projects contribute to the security of tenure and transferability of property rights by strengthening land administration services. Making land tenure more secure is a process, not a single event. It is also a very context-specific concept, with no absolute standards by which security of tenure can be defined.

Interventions tended to have better results when they were sufficiently tailored to match a number of local conditions. This included having a comprehensive understanding of the underlying sources of tenure insecurity in a given context, and ensuring that projects are adequately tailored to address them. Incrementally strengthening the legal and policy framework was integral to the process, as was factoring in local capacity to implement the proposed measure and sustain project activities, and taking measures to enhance this capacity. Long-term support and political commitment was another significant factor, which had bearing on many of the other issues. (For more findings related to Enhancing Tenure Security, download the report).

Social Inclusion

Most of the projects covered by this review did not explicitly target the poor or vulnerable groups, or reflect social inclusion in their objectives. Some projects assumed that all segments of the population would benefit, either because the law does not discriminate or because the approach used was assumed to cover all eligible landholders in a given area. A few projects included specific measures in their design to address the needs of vulnerable groups, but they were not always implemented as planned and there was insufficient follow up during implementation to assess if these efforts were appropriate. There was limited reporting on social impacts across projects.

Project experience showed that social impacts need to be monitored, not assumed, even when laws and procedures are the same for all potential beneficiaries. Targeted measures to reach marginal groups need to be specifically provided for in the project’s design, and monitored during implementation. There was also a need to better incorporate measures to address the needs of poor and vulnerable groups into longer-term land administration programs.  (For more findings related to Social Inclusion, download the report).

Broader Development Outcomes

Improving the land administration system is not always sufficient to bring about some intended development outcomes. Reforms are often needed in non-land sectors. At the same time, due to their complexity, land projects are best handled as stand-alone operations rather than as part of multi-sectoral operations. Project expectations need to be set taking into account the necessary reforms and inputs across all sectors, and a realistic assessment of what can be achieved through a single land operation.  (For more findings related to Broader Development Outcomes, download the report).