Dashboard: Update, Pilots, and Local-to-Global Ambitions

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

After seven consultations across four continents involving hundreds of members and partners over the past 18 months, the Dashboard monitoring tool for people-centred land governance is finally approaching the gates. 

The result of a participatory process built on the experience and expertise of Coalition members, we have good reason to believe the tool will mark a significant step towards our shared goal of putting people and community at the centre of land governance monitoring.

The Dashboard will provide members with locally generated data to be leveraged in national policy spaces, in addition, it will allow members to monitor the fundamental principles of the VGGTs and offer alternative and complementary reports on many of the land-related SDGs.

This year, it will be piloted in three countries and partially implemented by a group of members in Latin America.

But we realize that we still have some explaining to do.

For some in and beyond the Coalition, the question remains: What exactly is the Dashboard, aside from a tool with an untranslatable name? For those of you more familiar with the Dashboard, perhaps different questions linger: What is the tool’s status? Who is using it? And how can it be used to advance local goals? 

In its essence, the Dashboard is a monitoring tool developed by and for ILC members to collect people-centred data on land governance. Currently, it is comprised of 36 common – “core” – indicators that resulted from a series of consultations with members throughout 2017. These indicators are organised according to the ten ILC Commitments and, as such, cover a wide range of issues related to land governance.

For each of ILC’s Commitments, the consultations tended towards three kinds of indicators per commitment:

  1. A legal indicator, which measures the presence – or lack – of a policy framework to address the issue at hand;
  2. An implementation indicator, which looks at the extent to which such policies or laws have been implemented on the ground and;
  3. The final indicator looks at outcomes, perceptions, and results that will vary according to the indicator.

Take Commitment 1: Secure Tenure Rights for example. The legal indicator will measure the presence of a legal framework in place at national level to secure tenure rights, for different kinds of tenure and by gender. The implementation indicator, in turn, will look at the percentage of women and men in a given country with documented tenure rights. Finally, the outcome indicator will measure the percentage of men and women who perceive their tenure rights as secure.

Each indicator has its own methodology, which will consist of a document that explains how data should be collected in order to guarantee standard responses across countries. Of course, these methods will vary according to the indicator, with some based on a multistakeholder assessment, others based on a calculation, others on survey data, etc. Once they are finalised, the methodologies will be made publicly available, allowing anyone who wants to collect data according to Dashboard methodologies to do so.

But for now, we have focused our efforts on three pilot countries: Colombia, Nepal and Senegal. These countries were chosen due to the availability of data, the presence of a NES (multistakeholder) platform, and the existence of a monitoring infrastructure. In each country, we identified strong partners well versed in data collection and willing to collaborate on the implementation of all of the Dashboard’s indicators during 2018. Suffice it to say they’ve taken on a lot of work for the year.

While direct support for full Dashboard implementation will be focused on the three pilot countries, the Commitment Based Initiative (CBI) in Latin America, Red de Iniciativas de Monitoreo will be partially implementing the initiative on their own. Four members – Fundación Tierra in Bolivia, OUOT in Honduras, Acción Campesina in Venezuela, and la Universidad Javeriana in Colombia – will be implementing eight of the Dashboard indicators in 2018 as part of this CBI.

The Dashboard indicators to be implemented were selected in February, through a consultation process where members of the CBI decided as a group that they would focus on secure tenure rights, family farming, and locally managed ecosystems. They defined the indicators that would address their needs, and we began to prepare the methodologies. By the end of the year, the Red will not only have data on these eight indicators, which form part of the Dashboard, but they will prepare analyses, publications, and advocacy plans based on these results.

What role can local data play in advancing towards global goals for improved land governance?

While the biggest impact of data collected through the Dashboard is meant to be at the local level, land monitoring being done by our members will resonate elsewhere. At the World Bank Land and Poverty Conference in Washington D.C. this March, we held a Dashboard Masterclass with our partners from IPAR in Senegal, a technical meeting focused on Dashboard indicators and methodologies, and a panel session on how people-centred data can play a role in the framework of the SDGs.

The need for complementary, alternative, and disaggregated data in the context of global monitoring frameworks such as the SDGs and VGGTs became a theme that reappeared throughout the week, with members of the land community identifying the need for a broader ecosystem of data beyond official statistics.  

While several Dashboard indicators will directly respond to land indicators monitored in the SDGs (1.4.2, 5.a.1, 5.a.2), and more than half of its indicators refer to principles of the VGGTs, the kind of data being collected through the Dashboard will add a wealth of people-centred information to existing state-centric indicators on land governance.

In this sense, the Dashboard is positioned to put ILC members and their priorities at the heart of a growing ecosystem of data, linking people-centred monitoring initiatives on the local level to global development goals.

With that said, it’s back to work. Stay tuned throughout 2018 as the Dashboard will continue to take shape in English, Spanish and French. And of course, whenever someone finds the perfect, translatable alternative to the name Dashboard, you have our emails.