Земельные и водные ресурсы

Strengthening the enabling environment to achieve land degradation neutrality through tenure security

Policy makers and stakeholders from 17 sub-Saharan African countries came together on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, to discuss the responsible governance of tenure as a vehicle to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), combat drought and desertification. This webinar was the first of a capacity building process organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), in the framework of the Resilient Food Systems Programme (RFS). Seventy participants including UNCCD national focal points, civil society representatives, project managers and technical advisors from FAO, Resilient Food Systems (RFS), EU Land governance programs and other initiatives in the region were in attendance.

In opening the session, Mr. Lifeng Li, Director of the Land and Water Division of FAO, emphasized the crucial importance in considering land tenure as an important aspect of sustainable land management for food security, ecosystem health and human well-being. 

Ms. Tina Birmpili, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, highlighted that UNCCD acknowledges the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) which actually stands as the only multilateral environmental agreement explicitly addressing the issue of land tenure.

The Hon. Farida Karoney, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Lands and Physical Planning, Kenya, called for coordinated actions and the need for platforms where different land sector players and partners can meet and exchange.

Experiences were shared by the Committee to Combat Drought in the Sahel (CILSS), as well as by the EU land governance program on the opportunities and challenges to integrate responsible governance in sustainable land management. Cases of community and land management in Kenya and the uptake of the VGGT in Senegal with the Diouroup and Ndiago communities were also highlighted.

Discussion amongst participants reflected the complexity of the topic, covering issues related to equal land rights and access to land by women, conflict resolution management, required political will, and the need for inter-sectoral and multi-level coordination as well as transparent dialogue mechanisms. 

Responsible governance of land is a fundamental component of sustainable land management, and is an important step in addressing desertification/land degradation and drought. This was acknowledged by the 197 Parties of the UNCCD in 2019 as the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) adopted a landmark decision on land tenure. The Framework and Guidelines (F&G) on Land Policy in Africa endorsed by African Heads of State and Government in 2009, provide comprehensive guidelines for African Member States to develop their land policies, and to implement and monitor them for improving tenure security for economic and social development as well as improved environmental management.

Following a COP14 decision, the UNCCD Secretariat together with FAO is developing a technical guide on how to integrate the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of land, fisheries, and forests in the context of national food security (VGGT) into implementing Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) whilst achieving multiple benefits for wellbeing, food security, livelihoods, land-based jobs for youth and the environment.

The series will continue with three more webinars focusing on the pathways of the technical guide, covering the legal & policy framework, policy coordination, securing women's rights to land, integrated land use planning, grievance mechanisms, land administration tools and tenure security on public land, commons and private land. 

For more information, contact, Ms. Aurelie Bres ([email protected]) or Ms. Yasmeen Telwala ([email protected] ), Land and Water Division, FAO.


For more information, check out the following publications:

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security

People’s Manual on the Guidelines on Governance of Land, Fisheries and Forests. International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty

Creating an Enabling Environment for Land Degradation Neutrality and its Potential Contribution to Enhancing Well-being, Livelihoods and the Environment. A Report of the Science-Policy Interface