The Land Portal Foundation, as a non-profit organization operating at the intersection of the open data and land governance communities, has been privileged over the past 5-8 years to be in a position to observe some interesting trends affecting the land governance data landscape.
The issue of land tenure and governance is one of the most complex and multifaceted challenges that face policymakers and practitioners in the development field. This is especially true when it comes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as there are more than a dozen land-related indicators housed over five SDG goals, with data maintained by different custodian agencies.
1. Can you tell us how you became so engaged in the Land Portal? Why were you so committed to the development of Land Portal over the years?
I have worked on land rights for two and a half decades, so to be engaged with the Land Portal was a natural and organic progression, especially given the increasing important role of knowledge and information sharing in defending and ensuring people’s rights to land.
Linking open data for land rights
Statistical data aggregated from trusted providers
Searchable library of open access publications
Located in Central Africa, Gabon has some rather unique characteristics in terms of land tenure. It is indeed one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, one of the most urbanized and one of the richest in forests. Gabon's economy is mainly based on the exploitation of natural resources, notably oil, mining and timber. These activities occupy the vast majority of the territory. In 2022, Gabon was the most prosperous country in Africa with a high human development index.
Mexico is characterized by decentralized land governance. Most of the population lives in urban areas, although highly concentrated in a few cities, and about 21% live in rural areas. The ejidos and agrarian communities-both forms of communal land ownership-that emerged from the Mexican Revolution continue to significantly shape land governance in Mexico today.
One third of the world’s soils - including farmland, forests, rangelands, and urban land - are already degraded and it is estimated that this number could rise to almost 90% by 2050. Land Degradation occurs naturally, but research shows that land degradation is increasingly caused directly or indirectly by unsustainable human activities, notably deforestation, overgrazing, mining or intensive agriculture. This has driven biodiversity loss, desertification, and led to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
The SDG Land Tracker provides easy access to official data and information on all land-specific SDG indicators. It concisely explains the indicators, why they are important, and tracks progress.