Technical report

Measuring individuals’ rights to land

An integrated approach to data collection for SDG indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1
Land rights Land use Gender equality Data collection Sustainable development

Land is a key economic resource inextricably linked to access to, use of and control over other economic and productive resources. Recognition of this, and the increasing stress on land from the world’s growing population and changing climate, has driven demand for strengthening tenure security for all. This has created the need for a core set of land indicators that have national application and global comparability, which culminated in the inclusion of indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. Having indicators on land ownership and rights in the SDG framework is an opportunity to routinely generate comparable, sex-disaggregated data to support evidence-based decision making on responsible land governance for sustainable development.

The custodians of SDG indicators 1.4.2 (UN-Habitat and the World Bank) and 5.a.1 (FAO) have joined forces to develop a standardized and succinct survey instrument designed to collect the essential data for computation of both indicators simultaneously. As the data collection requirements for each indicator largely overlap, great gains in efficiency are possible by implementing a joint module in existing survey questionnaires. This document aims to facilitate the successful, efficient, and cross-country comparable data collection for computation of SDG indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1 in line with the methodologies approved by the IAEG-SDGs. The survey instrument discussed in this document was designed with an eye for the integration of essential questions for both indicators into existing survey instruments, with the possibility of stand-alone implementation. Use of the proposed module encourages the standardization of indicator definitions and data comparability across countries and over time.

Significant attention is paid to the concept of respondent selection and the implications of this for indicators measurement. While the majority of household surveys currently rely on proxy respondents, studies of self-respondent versus proxy respondent reporting of assets suggest that proxy respondent reporting has the potential to distort information. Therefore, the custodians strongly recommend the use of respondent self-reporting wherever feasible, though options are presented for proxy respondent implementation as well.

This methodological note is prepared primarily for use by national statistical offices (NSOs) and other survey practitioners, in order to inform the monitoring of these two indicators and to provide guidance on the collection of data necessary for their regular reporting. The document provides an overview of the indicators, a discussion of the various questionnaire modules proposed, and detailed question-by-question guidance for each. Questionnaire modules have been designed for use with self- and proxy-respondent approaches, and for integration in surveys with and without a parcel roster. As Indicator 1.4.2 is relevant for all land, not only agricultural land as in the case of Indicator 5.a.1, integration of the proposed module is suitable with nationally-representative household surveys (e.g. income and expenditure surveys, household budget surveys, living standard measurement surveys, etc.).

Publication Details
Publication place:
Washington, DC