1 Background: Staring points for the discussion
Monitoring and evaluation is an inherent part of implementation. It enables all stakeholders – from governments to civil society to multilateral bodies – to ensure coherence with the Guidelines, assess the concrete impact of implementation efforts, identify possible shortcomings and adjust implementation efforts if needed.
The Guidelines themselves already set the frame for monitoring and evaluation activities at different levels and set out six key criteria for such activities. Monitoring and evaluation should thus be inclusive, participatory, gender sensitive, implementable, cost-effective and sustainable (Guideline 26.2).
These criteria as well as the key objective of the Guidelines "to improve governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests […] for the benefit of all, with an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people, with the goals of food security and progressive realization of the right to adequate food" (Guideline 1.1) provide the basis for concrete next steps towards monitoring and evaluation.
2 Key questions and discussions
CFS 39 called for an "innovative mechanism" to monitor progress in the implementation of CFS related decisions and recommendations, including the Guidelines. Against this backdrop the participants discussed ingredients for such an innovative mechanism and recommendations for states, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), national governments and civil society on how such monitoring and evaluation activities could be moved forward.
“Let’s start with the VGGT”
An encouraging call for monitoring the implementation of the VGGT came from the working group. A participant highlighted the opportunity to use the VGGT as the first CFS product to monitor that will "“enlighten us for other products". This was in line with other participants’ proposal to have a "learning by doing" approach on this complex issue. First steps should be taken immediately and guide us for further steps. The presentation of case studies at CFS 40 could be one of those first steps.
Another participant reminded us that VGGT monitoring activities must be useful for the country level to guarantee an impact of such monitoring activities. Adding to this, national monitoring activities should have a central place. Here, she pointed out, we have useable structures in place. Multiple participants highlighted the role of multi-stakeholder platforms for such monitoring activities at the different levels. They also cautioned that those platforms should not play an alibi role, should be participatory and especially include representatives of the most effected by hunger and malnutrition, small farmers, indigenous, fisher folks and pastoralists.
Indicators and methodologies
A key discussion was on indicators and methodology. Some reminded the group that a list of global indicators probably could not adequately address the different national realities. It was also pointed to the need that monitoring and evaluation must not only address structures like exiting or revised legal frameworks but also outcomes. It was referred to existing indicators, like the ones related to the ICARRD declaration of 2006 and the IBSA methodology (Indicators, Benchmarks, Scoping, Assessment) referring to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food. Both also address outcomes like e.g. the number of landless people.
How to link up with existing monitoring activities?
It was consent among the participants, that exiting activities and platforms at all levels – local, national, regional and global – should be used. This should include qualitative reports of local communities directly affected by land governance issues.
In addition two existing processes where presented. In the African context the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) should be linked with efforts for monitoring and evaluation of the VGGT. The African Union declaration on land already calls to monitor the implementation of the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa. The memorandum of understanding, which is right now discussed between the FAO and the LPI, could be an entry point in that regard.
As the VGGT are anchored in human rights, participants highlighted existing human rights monitoring activities and made concrete proposals to link them with VGGT monitoring. Regional human rights systems could contribute to monitoring and evaluation by compiling their observations and recommendations related to land governance.
Closing the communication gap
Another a key issue was the existing "communication gap between Rome and the local communities". It was highlighted that without knowledge about the VGGT at village level, monitoring by the people on the ground will be impossible. This was an appeal not to forget about this first step and reinforce efforts to make the VGGT known and understood not only by a few international experts. Multilateral institutions, especially the FAO could support such activities. This implies that adequate resources should be allocated to this support work, keeping in mind the need for longer-term engagements.
Overall, it was consent that this issue of monitoring and evaluation is multilayered and multifaceted. The proposed stepped approach could take this into account as designing a fully effective innovative monitoring mechanism would take time. Such a stepped approach, including short-, medium- and long-term objectives could be a central part of this "innovativeness", participants argued.
3 Key Recommendations from the Working Group
- CFS has an important role to play in assessing progress towards the implementation of the Guidelines and their relevance, effectiveness and impact. Land tenure is very complex. Therefore the approach should be short-, medium- and long-term and include case studies from different stakeholders and contexts in order to foster learning by doing.
- Multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral platforms should be established at all levels. These platforms should reflect the plurality of civil society, including particularly those most affected by food insecurity.
- We recommend linking with existing national and regional processes and platforms in order to build partnerships for the monitoring and evaluation of land tenure.
- We recommend the development and use of indicators, which are quantitative and qualitative and reflect the five principles in the Global Strategic Framework (para. 92 and 93), e.g. human rights based and gender sensitive.
- Where it does not exist it is important to support capacity building in the field of monitoring and evaluation in order to enhance accountability at all levels.
- Dissemination of the VGGT is crucial and should use the existing multi-stakeholder networks. A special focus should be on bridging the gap "between Rome and the local communities".