The evidence of absence is not absence of evidence
Discussions showed that, while several organisations funding and implementing land governance projects have monitoring systems in place, these systems do not always provide answers at the impact level – as they were not designed to do so in the first place. So, whether a project that allowed farmers to obtain land titles or certificates is also directly improving farmers’ access to food is still an open question.
But the meeting also showed a wealth of ideas to address this knowledge gap – though participants were quite aware of yet a long road ahead. They agreed that a lot more work is needed on the evaluation side, starting with better collaboration amongst development agencies commissioning surveys and gathering information, so the methodologies and data can be shared. This would provide global comparative land data, which in turn will help to generally monitor the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT), endorsed by countries, civil society and private sector representations at the Committee on World Food Security in 2012. One concrete suggestion is to incorporate evaluation documents in the Land Governance Programme Map, a database of over 600 land projects, and continue to hold meetings where monitoring and evaluation experts can exchange experiences and improve their systems.