The Role of the UN in Global Land Governance: (Re)Conceptualizing Tenure Security for the Global Indicator Framework

For the first time in the history of global UN-led goal-setting processes, so-called ‘land targets’ and ‘land indicators’ are explicitly included in the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals. Land indicators are indicators that supposedly allow for monitoring and tracking of progress of land governance. A core component is the ‘measuring’ of ‘tenure security’. However, as explored by recent scholarship, such indicators do not only ‘measure’ reality but create new realities. Importantly, the concept of tenure security is not only crucial in the context of land indicators but also at the core of many recent efforts in the realm of global land governance. This paper investigates the role that three of the most important actors in this realm – the World Bank, UN-Habitat, and the FAO – had through interpretive and executive action on the (re)conceptualization and (re)shaping of the concept of tenure security in the process of developing the Global Indicator Framework.