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Commitment 8

Photo: Michael Benanav

Photo: Michael Benanav


Transparent and accessible information

Ensure transparency and accountability, through unhindered and timely public access to all information that may contribute to informed public debate and decision-making on land issues at all stages, and through decentralisation to the lowest effective level, to facilitate participation, accountability, and the identification of locally appropriate solutions.

To achieve Commitment 8, ILC has supported member initiatives focused on transparency, accessibility of data and information, and combating corruption. Addressing such cross-cutting issues is important for members to advocate for land rights on the basis of concrete evidence, and also contributes to ensuring the effectiveness of work on all aspects of land governance.


Enabling affected communities and/or governments to hold landowners accountable for environmental or human rights violations is the focus of the CBI on Land Ownership Transparency and Accountability. It is led by Transparency International (TI) and the International Alliance on Land Tenure and Administration (IALTA), together with Global Witness, Welthungerhilfe, and Trócaire.

Starting with Scotland and Sierra Leone, these partners have developed a research framework for assessing a country’s regulation of beneficial ownership in large-scale land holdings. For Sierra Leone, a country assessment formed the basis for recommendations to reform land laws and governance practices with respect to public disclosure of beneficial ownership interests.

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The Land Matrix Initiative (LMI) remains the primary reference globally for data, information, and knowledge on large-scale land acquisitions. It It was cited over 100 times in scientific papers, articles, and CSO reports in 2017 alone, and was used for monitoring by investors, governments, and donor agencies. The most recent data analysis features country profiles for Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Argentina, Romania, and Madagascar, developed by LMI regional focal points to inform national debates.

The main innovation over the triennium has been the establishment of National Land Observatories. These improve data quality, better capture national specificities and developments, and can more directly be used to influence policy. Pilots have begun in Senegal, Uganda, Cameroon, Argentina, and the Philippines, all linked to the NES in those countries. The observatories provide a strong basis for multi-stakeholder platforms to participate in decision-making with regards to land investments.


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Data for Empowering Collective Land Users: LandMark

LandMark is the first global, interactive online platform offering maps with accurate information on collectively used land and territories owned by Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local communities. It was launched in 2016 (alongside the Land Rights Now campaign), in support of the Global Call to Action, to double the amount of land recognised as owned or controlled by such communities. LandMark is a broad partnership that includes ILC members WRI, FES, IBC, and PAFID.

LandMark plays a dual role, as:

  1. a tool to empower Indigenous Peoples and communities in order to guarantee their territorial rights;

  2. an enforceability instrument for land rights defenders, providing information that can be used to exert pressure on reforms or to deter actions by governments or investors that undermine legitimate land claims. 

LandMark currently receives information from more than 70 institutions and organisations worldwide and has mapped 1.15 million indigenous and community areas. These areas add up to 11.3% of all land on the planet. However, there is still a big information gap.


It is a task that requires the support of all interested organisations concerned about the issue. If you are an organisation that uses maps, please contact us and share your information. If you are an organisation that defends indigenous rights, but you’re not working with maps, find out who makes maps and let us know.
— Richard Smith, IBC

People-Led Land Monitoring: The ILC Dashboard

The ILC Dashboard was developed out of a set of consultations with ILC members, starting in 2016, on how to monitor progress towards people-centred land governance according to the 10 ILC Commitments.

The Dashboard now consists of a set of over 30 indicators from ongoing land rights initiatives, developed in close coordination with ILC members and external partners, and methodologies to use them. It is being piloted in Colombia, Senegal, and Nepal in 2018 by ILC members, in collaboration with national statistics offices. The Dashboard offers members – and others – greater opportunities to use data more effectively in their efforts to bring about people-centred land governance. It facilitates the linking of comparable data across countries and to SDG, VGGT, and Africa Land Policy Framework and Guidelines monitoring processes. It also strengthens the uptake and recognition of citizen-generated data.

The move to develop the ILC Dashboard came at a time of increased visibility of land rights issues, with land rights indicators being included under SDGs 1, 2, and 5, and recognised in the VGGTs as well as the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII). While these were welcome, and a promising sign of progress, ILC members saw a need for a different type of monitoring, including impact indicators. Such indicators were not included in other global initiatives, and are the most difficult type of indicator to monitor, as researchers need to go to the field and in some cases collect household data.

While legal indicators monitor the existence of laws, and implementation indicators monitor the effectiveness of the practice of these laws, impact indicators seek to monitor how this progress is actually changing people’s lives. “It’s this broader view of the indicators that make the ILC Dashboard much richer and more comprehensive than the other initiatives,” said Ward Anseeuw, a Senior Technical Consultant seconded to ILC from CIRAD. “By focusing only on land, we are free to take a much more detailed view with more specific, and useful, indicators that can better cover the complexities of land rights issues.”

Of particular note is the range of differing sources allowed for by the Dashboard. While indicators for the other initiatives are based on official, government data – with any biases that these might carry – the Dashboard promotes an “ecosystem of data”, which includes government data but also allows for a wide range of other sources, including research institutions and civil society. It gives visibility to people-led data collection, allowing voices that might otherwise be ignored to be heard on a global scale and to put forward new perspectives missed by other monitoring methods.

Before the ILC Dashboard is rolled out across every country, methodologies for data collection and assessment from both traditional and non-traditional sources are being tested in pilot countries. The roll-out plan will also see the various NES adopt the Dashboard as a replacement for their country assessment reports, and so cement its role as a core tool for ILC members.

Work on the Dashboard continues to generate new outcomes. It has built ILC’s technical expertise in advocacy for SDG land indicators to be classified as Tier II while ensuring that they are innovative, integrating perceptions of tenure security for all tenure systems and disaggregating results by gender and age. It has also strengthened land governance monitoring efforts at local, national, and global levels by increasing their visibility and building capacity, and aligning with existing global frameworks, particularly the VGGTs. In addition, it creates a basis for and promotes the development of an ecosystem of indicators and diverse data sources on land governance. By enabling citizen-generated data to contribute to the Dashboard and other ILC monitoring initiatives, the Coalition contributes to the democratisation of land monitoring by, with, and for the people, shedding light on land tenure systems, land governance issues, and engaging populations marginalised by traditional, technocratic land policy and monitoring frameworks.