Governance of Tenure


Responsible investments in land, fisheries and forests can result in social, economic and environmental benefits. However, investments can also bring large risks and safeguards are needed to ensure that people do not lose their legitimate tenure rights. The Voluntary Guidelines promote investment models that encourage partnerships between investors and the local people and communities who hold tenure rights.

Developing capacity for responsible investments

Holders of tenure rights (including individuals and communities), government agencies and investors often need to increase their ability to ensure that investments are responsible. 

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Uganda have introduced a learning programme on “Safeguarding land tenure rights in the context of agricultural investments”. The training programme consists of online training, a workshop and a mentoring phase. It is designed to guide government authorities to create an enabling environment for responsible investments. The programme has been implemented by FAO with relevant government ministries of the countries and with the financial support of the United Kingdom (DFID). 

China, India and South Africa participated in an exercise to improve an understanding of extra-territorial investments in Africa. Representatives from governments and investors took part in a review of agricultural investment cases and business models in order to see how the Voluntary Guidelines can be part of responsible investment practices. The exercise was implemented by FAO, with the financial support of Germany and the United Kingdom (DFID).

Implementing responsible investment

In Liberia and Sierra Leone, the governments have initiated the revision of their investment approval processes so they are consistent with the Voluntary Guidelines and the recommendations from the participants of the learning programme. The work in Liberia is led by the Ministry of Agriculture, and in Sierra Leone by the  Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency Act and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security.

Sierra Leone’s District Councils of Kailahun and Bo have integrated the Voluntary Guidelines into their Development Plans, with reference to agricultural investments. The districts are committed to increasing awareness about the Voluntary Guidelines, safeguards in communities, and to using them to develop guidelines for agricultural investments.