Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter - July 2020

07 July 2020
The “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security” are referred to as the “Voluntary Guidelines" or the VGGT in this newsletter.

What COVID-19 movement restrictions mean for nomadic pastoralists in the Sahel

©Vix Morá

Better land governance could be a solution to challenges pastoralists face

In Mauritania, confinement due to COVID-19, in mid-March, led to the closing of borders between all neighbouring countries as well as between the country's willayas (regions), a decision fraught with consequences in this region where each year transhumance between Mauritania, Senegal and Mali is carried out by many mobile pastoralists. Mauritanian pastoralists who were preparing to leave for their destination areas, remained stranded in Mauritania with their livestock.

For full article 


Land consolidation legislation: FAO Legal Guide and its application at the country level

This webinar focuses on land consolidation legislation and its application. It serves to support the application and implementation of the VGGT and achieving SDG targets such as 1.4, 2.3 and 5.a. Its objective is to promote good land consolidation practices and the practical application of the new FAO Legal Guide on Land Consolidation, prepared based on the outcomes of a study of good practices for land consolidation legislation in Europe.

Watch the video of the webinar here


Building Back Better: How securing land rights will be critical in a post-Covid-19 world

Supporting the struggles of local land-users and communities to own and manage their land and natural resources is a long-term effort. COVID-19 has severely disrupted these efforts around the world. Protecting land rights should be a part of the urgent task of mitigating the crisis and aiding the immediate recovery. In this webinar speakers take us through what ‘building back better’ looks like, by keeping land rights at the centre of the global discourse.

Watch the video of the webinar here

Colombia: Virtual workshop with parliamentarians on the VGGT as a tool for legislative management

On 27 May 2020, FAO carried out an online workshop dedicated to members of the Colombian parliament, the National Land Agency and a number of parliamentarian commissions (i.e. Comision Ambiental, Frente Parlamentatio contra el Hambre, etc.) on the land agenda and the implementation of the VGGT in Colombia.

Facilitated by the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) and supported by land governance and tenure experts from the FAO, through the financial contribution of the EU funded Transversal Project, the workshop provided an introduction to the VGGT as a tool for legislative management in Colombia.

The event was well attended and there was a lively exchange from a broad range of partners including a representative of the Office of the Vice-Presidency of the Republic, senators, parliamentarians, the Caucus Conservacionista y de los Océanos de Colombia, the National Land Agency, the National Parks Agency, the Unidad de Restitución de Tierras, the World Bank, the Centre for Advanced Legislative Studies (CAEL), private sector and civil society organizations.

The interest of several Colombian entities in the incorporation of the VGGT as a tool came out very strongly in the meeting, as was the recent case with the National Land Agency (ANT).

FAO staff presented the work done in the country through the EU and Italian cooperation funded programs, providing a clear demonstration of positive outcomes resulting from a coordinated and inclusive effort to improve tenure rights in Colombia.

The discussion highlighted the importance of the legislative role in the resolution of sensitive land tenure issues, which require two approaches: work at the community level with the rural population, promoting sustainable practices while, at the same time, involving decision-makers from the early stages of policy implementation.

The interest triggered during the workshop is a first step towards discerning the opportunities in the creation of a national parliamentary alliance with specific focus on the above-mentioned priorities, incorporating the VGGT principles in the elaboration of normative frameworks and other related initiatives.

View the complete recording of the event (in Spanish)

Watch the roundtable discussion

Technological tools for land registration: an exchange of experiences between Sierra Leone and Guatemala

© FAO Guatemala

On 14 May 2020, FAO conducted a virtual roundtable on "Sierra Leone's experience in implementing Open Tenure in the framework of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure” in Guatemala. The workshop, organized in the context of the Secretary-General Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) UN Joint Project “Making transformative reparation a reality for survivors of sexual violence and other forms of violence against women in conflict and post-conflict situations”, aimed at showcasing how technological tools contribute to responsible governance of tenure, through an exchange of experience between Sierra Leone and Guatemala. 

Within the framework of public policies and the establishment of strategic alliances between Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the state, Guatemala has formed and trained human and institutional capital in land tenure, land uses and land rights recording through the use of the FAO Open Tenure technological tool and methodology, empowering community leaders, achieving equal participation of men, women and land committees who carry out the management and access to land in their communities. Open Tenure has contributed to documenting and recording collective land ownership in the communities, infrastructure areas for access to basic services as well as forest reserve areas.

In Sierra Leone, using Open Tenure, clusters of thematic maps of community and family plots have been generated and validated through the legal empowerment of communities, development of community statutes, harmonization of boundaries and community validation of communal land maps and plots, considering the basic principle of gender equality. Women were empowered as communal land rights leaders, advocates and trainers with skills to clarify and make decisions on property rights.

©FAO Guatemala

In the exchange of experiences in the implementation of Open Tenure, the main advantages of use, requirements, community and political conditions and how the role of women has been of vital importance during implementation were presented. 

The workshop was attended by participants from several institutions and CSOs, including Utzche, Fundación Guillermo Toriello, Mujeres Transformando el Mundo, Action Aid, UNAMG, Agencias del Sistema and RIC. It strengthened the knowledge of technical teams from CSOs and the state who identified the eight main steps of the Open Tenure methodology such as establishing community protocols to record, recognize, validate land tenure and rights agreements.

Some of the main challenges that emerged were inequalities in access to basic services, a lack of energy to use the tool in communities, the orography of the land with high slopes for the recording and mapping of the land, and the mechanisms of dialogue to achieve consensus regarding disputes found in the demarcation of the area, thus encouraging to engage in review policy and programmatic frameworks of each country in order to contribute to achieving good land tenure governance.

Click here to read the article on the FAO Guatemala website (in Spanish) 

 National process for setting up transhumance committees in Niger

© Moussa Tambari Ismaël, ROPEN-Maroobé 

As part of the national operationalization process of the National Transhumance Committee (CNT), the Réseau des Organisations des Pasteurs et Éleveurs du Niger (ROPEN-Maroobé), the legal national structure of the Réseau Billital Maroobé (RBM) in Niger, has been committed to the process of setting up Regional Transhumance Committees (CRT) since 2016.

This pastoral organization, very active in civil society in Niger, worked in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to achieve the establishment of the CNT on 16 January 2020, a historic result that will undoubtedly contribute to reducing the growing number of conflicts linked to transboundary transhumance in the Sahel.

The Regional Transhumance Committees (CRT), created by governor decrees, are the emanations and legal representations of the CNT (according to the provisions of the decree). To date, CRTs have been created, installed and trained in the seven regions of Niger: Tillabéry, Tahoua, Zinder, Dosso, Diffa, Maradi and Agadez, thanks to the steady commitment of ROPEN-Maroobé.

The creation and capacity building of these CRTs was inspired by the principles and recommendations of the Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security(VGGT), in particular in relation to the multi-stakeholder composition of the committee (administrative officials, traditional chiefs, local authorities, pastoral organizations and women's associations). The tools made available to them during the training were also prepared using the VGGT and FAO technical guides. In particular, the technical on Improving the governance of pastoral land was adapted to the Niger context in the form of a document in pictures entitled “Guide to improving the governance of pastoral land tenure in Niger”. It was developed by ROPEN with the support of FAO.

These tools, which support the capacity building workshops for CRT members, are training modules designed to provide an understanding of the fundamental principles of the VGGT and their integration in various initiatives aimed at improving the governance of pastoral areas and the prevention of conflicts.

In order to ensure the sustainability of its activities, ROPEN has diversified its partners and is currently working in collaboration with FAO and, in conjunction with the Sahel Pastoralism Support Project (PRAPS- NE), financed by the World Bank.

Niger’s experience with the setting up of transhumance committees will be shared with other countries in the sub-region. In this view, an exchange mission to Jigawa in Nigeria is envisaged. Its final objective will be to create a framework for concerted action, bringing together the authorities and pastoral civil society on both sides of the Niger-Nigerian border, and thereby contribute to the establishment of a peaceful transboundary transhumance.

To find out more about this unique experience, consult the new publication on good practices.

National workshop to strengthen capacities on gender equality for effective local governance of natural resources in Cambodia


Around sixty participants from national and sub-national levels from ministries, as well as NGOs gathered at an event in Siem Reap province. The workshop, which aimed to address capacity on gender equality and the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security for both women and men, was co-organized by the FAO and the General Directorate for Nature Conservation and Protection (GDANCP) of Ministry of Environment (MoE) with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Full article on the event click here

Lecturing at the Japan International Cooperation Agency in Tokyo on international experiences in using the VGGT

©JICA Tsukuba

FAO and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have a joint programme in which the FAO Land Tenure Unit is contributing to the objective “Supporting sustainable agriculture, forestry and fisheries” by promoting tenure security though encouraging understanding of global tenure-related issues.

As part of the JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Programme “Inclusive land administration and improved tenure security” organized by JICA Tsukuba, FAO provided, for the second consecutive year, three days of lectures, exercises and role play at the JICA Center in Tokyo on international experiences in working with the VGGT. The participants were senior officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in Viet Nam, both partners in the mainstreaming of the use of the VGGT in the Mekong Region. 

©JICA Tsukuba

The lectures dealt with tenure governance, land administration and safeguards, safeguarding tenure and responsible investments, the VGGT and the Sustainable Development Goals, resolution of disputes over land, and case studies on land policy/land management. Links were made to the ongoing activities in Viet Nam, such as the revision of the 2013 Land Law. JICA staff and consultants also attended the lectures and participated actively in the exercises.

JICA and FAO continue discussions regarding their possible collaboration within their respective work streams related to safeguarding tenure and responsible investments in Viet Nam.



New videos

CFS Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries & Forests

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National FoodSecurity (VGGT) are a critical tool for nature and for healthy food and healthy diets, healthy people and a healthy planet. Watch this new video created for the 8th anniversary of the VGGT. 


Land governance in Colombia's protected areas

These videos highlight concrete and compelling examples of VGGT implementation in the context of Colombia’s protected areas, with an open and participatory approach that includes local and indigenous communities, institutions of land administration, CSOs, national park rangers and other technical and financial partners. 


 Success stories: Sierra Leone and the implementation of the VGGT


 Soon after the endorsement of the VGGT by the Committee on World Food Security, Sierra Leone was one of the first member states to commit to its implementation. This video highlights the achievements of VGGT implementation in Sierra Leone.


Supporting Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems (RAI)



The videos feature the testimonies of policy-makers from Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal addressing three topics crucial to enhancing responsible investment in agriculture: the investment approval process, inclusive and effective consultations and maximizing the impact of public investment for young agri-entrepreneurs. For the latter, young agri-entrepreneurs from Guinea and Senegal highlight challenges and opportunities to engage youth in responsible agricultural investment, including challenges related to land tenure. 





New Publications

Multi-stakeholder platforms: Building on FAO's experience for improved governance of tenure

MSPs seek to be forward-thinking, to make voluntary and collaborative relationships possible regarding land tenure issues between various parties. They involve both public and non-public entities that can achieve common purposes, offer a neutral space for policy dialogue or undertake specific tasks and, as mutually agreed, share risks and responsibilities, resources and benefits.

This brochure presents fundamental principles, factors of success and practical experience of MSPs, all supported by FAO as part of the land tenure programme. This guide also demonstrates how MSPs help support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Legal Guide on Land Consolidation

This legal guide provides detailed guidance on legislative issues regarding land consolidation in ways that align with VGGT and international human rights law. It focuses on land consolidation in rural areas and is based on regional good land consolidation legislative practices in Europe, primarily on analysis of the regulatory practices in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain (Galicia) and Turkey. It also uses land consolidation regulatory practices in other European countries as a source of information.

The guide mainly targets countries that have not yet developed a specific legal framework for land consolidation, and countries where land consolidation instruments have a short history, or are in the initial phase of development. It also encourages the exchange of good practices between countries with ongoing national land consolidation programmes. Countries with developed land consolidation legal frameworks can also use this guide to strengthen or streamline such frameworks. Thus, the guide may be useful to any country wishing to introduce or reform its land consolidation legislation, independent of general level of development or wealth. 


Civil society is firmly committed to the process of the Rural Land Policy in Niger


The land policy process in Niger has been a remarkably participatory process. This brochure was developed, together with partners, to present how civil society actors in Niger have played a key role through their active engagement in this historical process.















 A wide variety of e-learning courses are available on the Responsible Governance of Tenure. Learn about:

  • making access to land, fisheries and forests more equitable
  • how to protect people's tenure rights
  • options to simplify the administration of tenure and make it accessible to all
  • how to ensure disputes are resolved before they degenerate into conflict

Browse all Responsible Governance of Tenure e-learning courses


Land Tenure Journal - Call for submissions!

We are looking for quality articles that highlight important global or regional experiences and best practices related to land and natural resources tenure, lessons learned in 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). The article should be in support of a global land agenda, emerging tenure issues and cross-cutting themes, and propose ways forward to meet challenges that the land and natural resources tenure sector is facing in the context of the 2030 Agenda and meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

To facilitate the discourse on tenure governance issues, sharing and dissemination of land tenure experiences and in view of the recent cancellation of the 21st Land and Poverty Conference “Institutions for Equity and Resilience”, you may wish to consider submitting articles based on your approved, but perhaps unpublished paper(s) for publication in the FAO Land Tenure Journal (LTJ). Submission requirements can be accessed here.

The Land Tenure Journal is a peer-reviewed, open-access flagship journal of the Land Tenure unit (PSPL) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Launched in early 2010, it is a successor to the Land Reform, Land Settlement and Cooperatives magazine, which was published between 1964 and 2009.

The Journal is a medium for the dissemination of quality information and diversified views on land and natural resources tenure.

For more information please contact [email protected], or visit the Governance of Tenure website.