Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

14 March 2018

Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines in Central Asia

The Union of Water Users Association of the Kyrgyz Republic (UWUA), in collaboration with FAO, implemented the project "Implementation of VGGT in Central Asia" from September – December 2017. The project covered Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and was funded through the FAO Multi-Disciplinary Funds (MDF). It was implemented to promote the Voluntary Guidelines in the Central Asia sub-region where tenure rights are, in general, less secure and land governance is weaker than in the rest of the region. The project aimed at i) raising awareness of the Voluntary Guidelines, ii) assessing the legal and institutional framework for the compliance with the Voluntary Guidelines and iii) preparing a roadmap for the Voluntary Guidelines implementation in both countries. The roadmap will support policy dialogue and guide the implementation of proposed recommendations in both countries. As a follow-up, the roadmap will be disseminated to the Governments and the project outcomes presented during the Voluntary Guidelines sub-regional workshop for civil society, tentatively planned for April in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Voluntary Guidelines General Learning Programme “Implementing Responsible Governance of Tenure in Nepal”

© FAO / Chiara Nicodemi

Godawari, Lalitpur, Nepal. A workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines General Learning Programme “Implementing Responsible Governance of Tenure” was held in Godawari, Lalitpur District from 11-15 December 2017. The programme brought together 32 key “change agents” engaged in the governance of tenure in Nepal representing a multi-stakeholder audience. This included representatives from civil society, government, the private sector, and academia. The learning programme consisted of an online learning component lasting 4 weeks, which preceded the 5-day workshop in December. Participants assessed the tenure situation in Nepal with regard to the Voluntary Guidelines principles, and identified what priorities should be set to improve the responsible governance of tenure. One of the first key actions taken at the workshop was the establishment of a national multi-stakeholder platform entitled “National Forum for Tenure Dialogue Networks on Land, Forest & Fisheries in the context of Food Security”. The platform convenes state and non-state actors to continue the dialogue on tenure governance, and acts as a forum to plan joint activities. Their first post-workshop meeting was held on 30 December 2017. The Learning Programme was co-delivered by FAO, in collaboration with the Land Management Training Centre and FIAN Nepal, with funding from the Federal Republic of Germany.


© FAO / Almudena Garcia-Sastre

Asunción, Paraguay (13-14 December 2017). About 60 participants attended a workshop in Asunción to discuss the implementation of the VGGT in Paraguay, focusing on the administration of land tenure. This two-day workshop was co-organized by the National Cadastre System, under the Ministry of Treasure, with the support of FAO. The Inter-Institutional Committee promoting the application of the VGGT in the national context was in charge of defining the content and format of the workshop. International experts on land governance, government representatives and peasant and indigenous leaders from rural movements formed working groups to identify the main challenges to improving the systems that record individual and collective tenure rights. Participants outlined a roadmap to establish appropriate ways of recording customary tenure systems and recognizing women’s legitimate rights. They also highlighted the need for the State to develop an integrated framework to enhance transparency and compatibility with various sources of information for spatial planning. FAO will continue to support this dialogue on the governance of tenure in the coming months.

Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines continues in South Africa

The implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines in South Africa is being strengthened by the multi-stakeholder platform, which has been planning key meetings with the Government in order to provide further impetus to the activities of the platform. Related activities include collaboration between the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and FAO with the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council and the Landless People’s Movement in increasing awareness on the Voluntary Guidelines at grassroots level. This initiative, which includes the translation of Voluntary Guidelines flyers into six local languages, is expected to cover the country’s nine provinces. One-day campaign events are planned during the month of February, and these will culminate in a one-day national campaign event. The activity is going to increase the application of Voluntary Guidelines principles in the governance of tenure in the country.

Training of key stakeholders on the Voluntary Guidelines in Sudan

© FAO Sudan

Darfur, Sudan. In order to mainstream responsible governance of land tenure in the Darfur region, state level trainings were held between September 2017 and January 2018 to improve the knowledge of key stakeholders on the Voluntary Guidelines. 62 State Technical Team members (STTs) received a three-day training, organized in each of the five Darfur states. Participants were trained on: Voluntary Guidelines concepts, principles and tools; disputes and conflicts over tenure of natural resources; and how to monitor and promote policy changes in governance of tenure. The trainings aimed at enabling participants to initiate change in their own work environment and help communities. Learning materials and information related to the Voluntary Guidelines were provided to participants for further reading. Participants were also tasked with identifying pertinent policy issues affecting tenure service delivery within their state ministries and departments, with the aim to initiate dialogue and bring about policy changes in tenure governance in the Darfur region. The project is funded by the EU.

Civil Society

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are increasing their knowledge, capacities and use of the Voluntary Guidelines through a series of targeted activities, following the methodology established in the project’s capacity development manual “Putting the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure into Practice: A Learning Guide for Civil Society Organizations”, developed by FAO and FIAN International. Each country adapts the programme to its specific context, where the participants assess their local tenure situations and identify action plans. The programme has been successfully implemented in over 19 countries since late 2014, through the financial support of the FAO Multipartner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM).

Recent activities include:


Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire (18-20 December 2017). Building on the West Africa regional workshops which were held in February and October 2017, the Plateforme des Femmes du Vivrier Pour la Sécurité Alimentaire (PFEVISA) and the national platform of the West-African Convergence of Land and Water Struggles carried out a three-day national-level training workshop with 30 participants. The activities with PFEVISA are complementary to the ongoing project Renforcement de la prévention et de la gestion pacifique des conflits fonciers (UNJP/IVC/033/PBF) in the country.

UGANDA, KENYA AND TANZANIA, November-December 2017

Together with the Society for International Development (SID), a series of workshops was organized for CSOs. They began at country level and fed into a regional multi-stakeholder process, to discuss how the Voluntary Guidelines could be implemented in the East Africa sub-region.

Three 2-day capacity development workshops were organized by SID in Entebbe (Uganda) on 27-28 November (25 participants), in Nairobi (Kenya) on 13-14 November (27 participants) and in Arusha (Tanzania) on 16-17 November (18 participants), with participants representing mostly small-scale farmers, fisher folk and pastoral community groups. These workshops addressed national, regional and cross-boundary issues related to tenure of natural resources and strengthened understanding of policy opportunities offered by the Voluntary Guidelines, and links between Voluntary Guidelines, food sovereignty, healthy and sustainable diets in the context of the SDG agenda.

In December 2017, a CSO regional workshop (26 participants) was organized in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania by SID to consolidate the discussions undertaken at national level and to examine the role of the Voluntary Guidelines in tackling the abovementioned issues from a regional perspective.

The outcomes of the abovementioned meetings ultimately fed into the regional multistakeholder workshop, held in December 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for a select group drawn from the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) as well as CSOs, youth groups and smallholder organizations. The 14 participants discussed opportunities to further embed the Voluntary Guidelines in legislative and policy initiatives to stabilize the agricultural sector, as well as the role that EALA could play in helping promote the Voluntary Guidelines at national level. The aim was to engage with parliamentarians on the role that national/regional legislatures could play in promoting the Voluntary Guidelines within national/regional contexts.

The regional workshops also aimed at connecting the tenure governance process with other key aspects of the 2030 SDG agenda, with a special focus on nutrition and the related Decade of Action.


Bogotá, Colombia (28-29 November 2017). In recent years, FAO has supported the Government of Colombia in implementing comprehensive rural development policies, particularly the Peace Agreement on Comprehensive Rural Reform. In this context, together with Fensuagro and other members of La Via Campesina, a national meeting of organizations and communities on the Development Plans with Territorial Approach (PDETs in Spanish) was organized to encourage dialogue on the formulation of PDETs and National Plans for Comprehensive Rural Reform. Around 70 representatives of peasant, indigenous and afro-descendant organizations from 16 regions participated in the meeting. The Voluntary Guidelines were essential in facilitating and promoting CSO contributions to the action plan for implementing the peace agreement.

To further the work on the Voluntary Guidelines, several other activities took place in January 2018, including a Training of Trainers in Viotá-Cundinamarca on 22-25 January; a sensitization workshop with government entities in Bogotá on 26 January; and CSO sensitization workshops in El Cocuy and La Paya national parks in February 2018.


Panama City, Panama (27-29 November 2017). As part of the regional workshops carried out in various regions of the world, a 2.5-day regional workshop took place in Panama City with the twofold purpose of disseminating the learning guide and tools to international, regional and national CSOs, and for workshop participants to share their experiences in implementing the VGGT. The 23 participants were representatives from the Central American and Dominican Republic Commission of Family Farming (CCAF), government representatives, family-farming organization representatives, FAO Country Officers and partners of the FMM project (Guatemala). The objective was to establish a dialogue on policy analysis and institutional mechanisms that can generate a roadmap within CCAF to improve the governance of natural resource tenure in the countries of the sub-region. During the workshop, the participants shared their experiences on the implementation of the VGGT and they were trained on the use of the learning framework developed under the previous phase of the project. Following the workshop, the IV Meeting of CCAF saw the Work Plan for 2018 in which increased knowledge and exchanging experiences on using the VGGT were one of the priorities for the year.

Click here to read the event report:


© FAO / Ingeborg Gaarde

Building on the successful implementation of the project funded through the FMM, a new set of capacity development and support to multi-actor platforms activities will be carried out in 2018 in several countries (namely Mali, Nigeria, Colombia, Mongolia and two countries in West Africa). The first activity took place in Niger, where from 9 to 11 February 2018 a civil society training on the VGGT and a pre-forum took place in Niamey. This event was embedded in a broader process funded by Italy, aiming to prepare for the land forum: Etats généraux du foncier rural. The objective of this historical land forum, held between 13 and 16 February, under the patronage of the President of the Republic and chaired by the Prime Minister, was to take stock of and assess 25 years of implementation of the Rural Code (land legal framework).

The training/pre-forum was organized by the Plateforme Paysanne du Niger (PFPN) and was opened by the State Minister of Agriculture and Livestock. It gathered over 82 civil society representatives from all regions of the country. The objective of the meeting was for CSO actors to analyze their tenure situation in light of the VGGT and to use the Guidelines to build a common vision on a better governance of tenure in Niger. The participants presented their vision at the “Etats généraux du foncier rural” and recommended, among other things, to use the VGGT to support local initiatives in all regions of the country.

New publication

TG 6 Improving Governance of Pastoral Lands (Chinese)

The guide builds on a number of initiatives and studies from recent years that have shone a light on pastoral governance and land tenure: on the inherent challenges pastoralists face, the shortcomings of governments in securing pastoral tenure, and the emerging examples of success and progress from around the world. This guide provides solutions to securing pastoral governance and tenure without undermining the inherent, necessary complexity of customary arrangements. The solutions are within a rapidly changing context, in which traditional practices and crucial patterns of livestock mobility are transforming.

Also available in EN FR Portoguese AR

New e-learning course and mobile tool


An e-Learning course and mobile tool “Putting the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure into Practice: A Learning Guide for Civil Society Organizations” was developed to support trainers/facilitators in organizing successful trainings, by outlining the main points of the learning guide, and providing all necessary tools, training materials, and other information needed to adapt the guide to any national context.

With increased reliance on mobile devices, specifically smart phones, the course was developed as a fully responsive mobile course, designed according to a micro-learning strategy that foresees the delivery of bite-sized content nuggets, manageable for the learner and easy to access. The course is adaptable for use on a PC, tablets and smart phones, with all material and information downloadable so as to be accessible offline, facilitating the work of those with irregular access to the internet.

This free course is available through the FAO E-learning Centre in English, Spanish and French:

New video

Gobernanza de la tenencia de la tierra, la pesca y los bosques en ALC: Logros y desafíos

This video, prepared during the Latin America and Caribbean high level meeting on governance of tenure in April 2017 in Santiago, takes stock of the VGGT implementation and analyzes the challenges that must be met to improve the governance of tenure in the region.