Photo credit: UN Women 


UN Women launched this project, “Women’s land rights and tenure security in the context of the SDGs,” as a pilot initiative in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania in 2016, with the support of the government of Finland.  The project has engaged governments, civil society and other actors to build consensus towards gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the implementation of the SDGs though the promotion of women’s land rights and tenure security.

The project has informed local, national and global efforts to address the gender-land-development nexus in the context of the implementation of the SDGs.  It has advocated for the need to improve and implement laws and policies to realize women’s land rights; strengthen the collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics on land rights and tenure security; and integrate SDG indicators 1.4.2, 5.a.1 and 5.a.2 into national planning and monitoring frameworks.

Under the overall objective to ensure informed policy and data action on women’s land rights and tenure security at the national, regional and global levels, the project is working towards the following outputs:


1. Strengthened coordination among gender and land tenure information and data providers and users at national levels;

2. Governments (policy-makers, legislators, statisticians) informed about gender and land tenure security issues and supported in localization of SDGs 1.4.2. 5.a.1 and 5.a.2; and

3. National stakeholders are prepared to take action on gender and land tenure security issues in the implementation of national development plans.


The project has conducted national and regional consultations with key stakeholders in the three participating countries on women’s land rights and tenure security. The consultations analyzed the country capacity and institutional frameworks to localize SDG indicators 1.4.2, 5.a.1 and 5.a.2 in their national monitoring and evaluation systems. Country situation analyses were developed to support the formulation of policy guidance. The findings of the country situation analysis reports were disseminated in a poster session during the 2018 World Bank Annual Land and Poverty Conference and feedback gathered for their finalization.

The project has also provided technical advice to the Global Land Indicators Initiative in collaboration with UN-Habitat and has supported the development of gender-responsive methodologies for the three SDG indicators.


Country situation analyses in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania


The country situation analysis reports set the development context for the promotion of women’s land rights and tenure security in national development planning by describing the different ways in which people, especially women, in the three countries interact with land. They illustrate the underlying legal and institutional frameworks in land governance and administration and elaborate the main gender equality dimensions to land rights, and how these dimensions translate into the measurement of these rights in national monitoring and evaluation frameworks of national development plans. They conclude by providing policy recommendations for future action to secure women’s land rights and tenure security and the localization of the relevant SDG targets and indicators.

The reports were a direct result of stakeholder consultations conducted by UN Women in the three countries, which involved policy-makers in the governments, a select number of relevant civil society organizations and development partners supporting work on women’s land rights and tenure security at the national levels.


Regional validation workshop for the country situation analyses


Following the development of the situation analyses UN Women convened a regional workshop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in November 2017 that brought together select stakeholders from the three countries for peer learning and knowledge exchange, while leveraging the expertise of FAO, UN-Habitat, and Landesa. The workshop sought to strengthen the draft country situation analyses and identify future action points and recommendations for progress, with the eventual aim of integrating this information into a policy tool to provide uniformed guidance to national stakeholders on securing women’s access to land rights and tenure security. The situation analyses are currently being validated in a second round of reviews in each of the three countries.


Policy guidance tool


UN Women is developing a policy guidance tool to facilitates effective design, implementation, and monitoring of policies to localize the SDG targets and indicators related to land through a gender lens by national practitioners. The guidance tool builds on the knowledge and lessons learned outlined in the Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania country situation analysis reports and that of other countries undertaking similar work.


UN Women convened a workshop in July 2018, bringing together a small number of international and national gender and land experts for a two-day brainstorming on key factors and steps needed to create effective policy mechanisms to realize women’s land rights and tenure security in the context of the SDGs. Specifically, the workshop:

1. Built on the situation analysis reports from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania to facilitate knowledge-sharing on the legal, policy, and regulatory actions needed to advance women’s land rights and tenure security;

2. Identified the key national processes, systems and partnerships that need to be considered to manage effectively the SDG localization process;

3. Sketched a generic roadmap that can be adapted to different national contexts about how to localize the relevant SDG targets and indicators related to gender and land; and

4. Outlined subsequent steps to finalize the tool and validate it and lay out a basic plan for how to make the tool accessible to different stakeholders taking policy and other action that advance women’s land rights and tenure security in the SDGs.




Next steps


UN Women will continue to integrate the findings and lessons learned from the project to strengthen its work on achieving gender equality through climate-resilient agriculture, in which women’s rights to land and tenure security are central.


UN Women, together with OHCHR, is also updating the groundbreaking 2013 publication, Realizing Women’s Rights to Land and Other Productive Resources, to incorporate the progress made in the past five years, with particular reference to the evolving normative framework and the Sustainable Development Goals.



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