Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

28 July 2017

Africa Region

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (30 May-1 June 2017). A three-day meeting brought together 51 project staff and key focal points from 12 country projects of the European Union’s Land Governance Programme to exchange experiences, develop skills and learn about innovative ideas to address tenure issues. The participants from government and civil society organizations discussed the practical use of international instruments, responsible agricultural investments, the importance of capacity assessments and innovative technologies for land governance. A session on effective collaboration between governments and civil society, led by the project members from Angola and Malawi, inspired others to review their strategies for collaboration. The meeting was organized by FAO and the Land Policy Initiative (a consortium of the African Union, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa), with financial support from the European Union. 

Civil society

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are using a learning programme to improve their use of the Voluntary Guidelines. The programme has been implemented in a number of countries through awareness raising and capacity development workshops. Each country adapts the programme to meet its context, and the participants assess the local tenure situation and identify action plans. The programme was developed by FAO and FIAN International, with financial support from Belgium. Recent activities include:

West Africa (Abuja, Nigeria, 15-17 February 2017). Sharing experiences on the use and application of the Voluntary Guidelines among CSOs in West Africa was the focus of a three-day workshop which brought together 40 people from Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone. The meeting promoted policy dialogue between ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the CSOs on the ongoing negotiation on the guidelines for the West African subregional version of the Africa Land Policy Initiative.

Mali (Bamako, 14 June 2017). A consultation was held to support the multi-stakeholder platform established to improve land governance within the framework of the Voluntary Guidelines. During the meeting, the national action plan for the implementation of the Agricultural Land Law was presented. This law was approved in April 2017 and is an outcome of the multi-stakeholder platform.

Mauritania (Nouakchott, 5-7 June 2017). Civil society focal points participated in a workshop on the adaptation of the learning programme to the national context and the preparation of the material for a Training of Trainers workshop that will take place during the second half of the year.

Mongolia (Dundgobi and Khentii, May 2017). Two workshops enabled over 90 participants to review the current situation and prepare action plans and recommendations to be presented in multi-stakeholder workshops planned for late 2017. The participants represented local institutions, central and provincial levels of government, pastoral herders’ associations and local CSOs.

Uganda (Kampala, 22-25 May 2017). The first of a series of Training of Trainers events was attended by 41 participants. It led to an increased understanding of civil society’s role in discussions on tenure governance, and of how Ugandan law and policy secure legitimate tenure rights, with an emphasis on northern Uganda, which is predominantly under customary law.
See the newsletters of July 2015 for Malawi, Myanmar, Niger, Senegal and South Africa; December 2015 for Guatemala and Nepal; July 2016 for Mongolia;  November 2016 for the Philippines; and February 2017 for Europe and Central Asia region, Latin America region and Colombia.  


© FAO         

Nay Pyi Taw (8-9 June 2017). The recognition of legitimate tenure rights and the administration of tenure under the current policy and legal frameworks were the focus of a workshop attended by 50 participants from the Department of Agricultural Land Management and Statistics (DALMS), civil society and academia. The workshop highlighted that land tenure rights are important for social and economic stability and that progress is being made with the revision of relevant laws. Participants agreed on the importance of maximizing opportunities for the implementation of existing laws in line with the spirit of the Voluntary Guidelines. The workshop was organized by DALMS and FAO, with financial support from the United Kingdom (DFID).



Asunción (5-6 April 2017). The process to assess the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines started with a two-day workshop attended by about 40 representatives from social movements and government. The participants identified challenges to equitable access to natural resources by indigenous peoples and women, and identified the need to strengthen the capacities of rural leaders and ensure their participation in the process for making decisions on governance of tenure. An outcome of the event is a planned series of national workshops. The workshop was organized by the National Representation of Reunión Especializada sobre Agricultura Familiar del Mercosur (REAF) and FAO.

Sierra Leone

© FAO / KADDRO - Mohamed Mansarico         

Kambia District (23-24 May 2017). A training event on “Governing land for men and women”, with a special focus on the Voluntary Guidelines and the National Land Policy, was organized by the Kambia District Development and Rehabilitation Organization. The event brought together over 40 district participants including paramount chiefs, local council members, women and youth leaders. The organizers, presenters and facilitators had already participated in the learning programmes on the Voluntary Guidelines held in 2016. The event included speakers from the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Lands, NAMATI and the Women’s Forum for Human Rights and Democracy. It was organized with technical support from FAO and financial support from Trócaire.

Freetown (21 June 2017). A full day event on the Voluntary Guidelines and the National Land Policy was held for 29 Members of Parliament on the three Parliamentary Oversight Committees on Land, Agriculture and Fisheries. The event drew attention to the tenure issues in the land, fisheries and forestry sectors and the principles of the Voluntary Guidelines and the provisions of the policy. It was organized by FAO in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, and Action for Large Scale Land Acquisition Transparency.
Read the Sierra Leone National Land Policy

  © FAO / Christian Schulze   


Nyala, South Darfur (18-19 April 2017). Darfur’s food and nutrition security, sustainable and community-based management of land resources, and the applicability and use of the Voluntary Guidelines were the focus of a workshop attended by 60 participants from government, local authorities, native administration, and civil society. The participants highlighted the need to increase knowledge of the Voluntary Guidelines by holding similar workshops in other Darfur States for pastoralists, farmers, government administrations, and all land users and taking into consideration the participation of women. The workshop was in the context of an EU-funded project that will be implemented by FAO, and the participants discussed the project’s partnerships, strategy and implementation. The event was organized by FAO in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and with financial support of the EU. For more information.


© FAO Sudan / Sara Eltigani Ahmed       

Dakar (7-8 December 2016). The topic of the third meeting of the national multi-stakeholder platform of the Voluntary Guidelines addressed their implementation as part of the policy reform process. The meeting drew over 50 participants from government, civil society, the private sector and academia, and their discussions highlighted that the new National Land Policy Document reflects the vision, approach and objectives of the Voluntary Guidelines. The policy was prepared in 2016 and submitted to the President of the Republic. The meeting also launched a project to strengthen the dissemination and implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines in Senegal, with financial support from Italy.