040 Multistakeholder Platforms – golden bullet to foster food security and land governance?

How to make multi-actor processes effective, meaningful and aligned to human rights principles – lessons from practice


  • International Land Coalition
  • Welthungerhilfe
  • University of Wageningen (tbc.)


Multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) are identified in SDG 17 as a central tool in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) encourage States to set up multi-stakeholder platforms or use existing platforms to implement these Guidelines to foster national food security (provision 26.2). FAO and member states have supported corresponding initiatives in various countries. The International Land Coalition (ILC) has provided guidance in facilitating multi-stakeholder-platforms in 20 countries via its National Engagement Strategies (NES). NGOs like the German Welthungerhilfe support national CSO and CBO to engage with governments in MSPs.

Documentations of practical experience and research have shown opportunities but also challenges. Critical issues are: Is there an equal level playing field? How can a legitimate representation of the rights-holders be assured? Is there evidence for impact?

The panel wants to bring together perspectives of the different stakeholders: a critical civil society voice, reflecting on the legitimacy of these platforms as alternative governance mechanism; a governance perspective on the role of MSPs in policy design and implementation; a private sector perspective to argue for the representation of business interests in such fora.

The discussion will be enriched by practical experience in concrete MSP. Civil society and governmental representatives will bring in their perspectives with regard to limitations and successes of MSP. A respected academic researcher will enlighten the discussion with recent research findings and evidence. The guiding questions will lead to learnings on how MSP can be enshrined in human rights principles and how a governance mechanism can be set up, that is transparent and has an equal representation of all relevant actors.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Stanley Toe, Executive Director, Liberia Land Authority (GOV)
  • Albora Kacani, Forest Advisor, National Federation of Communal Forests and Pastures of Albania (CS)
  • Herman Brouwer, senior advisor at Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) at Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands (ACAD)
  • Francesca Nugnes, Financial Markets and Information Manager, Finance Alliance for Sustainable Trade (PS)

Main themes/issues discussed

  • Potential and challenges of MSP
  • Factors of success / failure
  • Evidence of impact

Summary of key points


  • Potential for collaborative achievements with shared roles and responsibilities, knowledge exchange and mitigating risks
  • Link of local to national level
  • In a best case scenario evolutionary transformation


  • Dangers of power inequalities that disadvantage weaker actors
  • Ineffectiveness of MSP that are too big
  • No “golden bullet” for any type of challenge

Key take away messages

  • Start with a smaller coalition and build on it
  • Have a strategy in place to deal with power inequalities (“equal level playing field”)
  • Create an independent body
  • Clarify goals and expectations
  • Have a professional facilitator for the MSP
  • Bring people who are affected into the platform or bring the platform to them
  • Role of leaders who make things happen and have a passion for the intended change
  • Pay attention of gender aspects, e.g. bringing women to governing bodies
  • In contexts of shrinking space it can create democracy from below
  • In the case of investments bring the beneficiaries into the business models
  • For researchers no scientific, only anecdotal evidence
CFS - Side Event 040: Multistakeholder Platforms – golden bullet to foster food security and land governance?