Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

01 July 2016

Senegal River basin

© FAO / Jane Hahn

About one hundred stakeholders from Mauritania, Mali and Senegal and from sub-regional organizations gathered in Dakar during 30 May - 1 June 2016 to review activities on governance of tenure and the Voluntary Guidelines in the countries. The meeting also provided training for key stakeholders, including parliamentarians. A new project “Improved governance of tenure for shared prosperity in the Senegal River basin” was launched at the meeting and the participants prepared the project’s work plan, which responds to a growing demand for equitable and sustainable development in this region. The meeting was organized by FAO and the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR) and financially supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project is being implemented by FAO and IPAR with financial support from Germany. 


© FAO / Jane Hahn

Trends in land purchases and their impact on land use and the livelihoods of small farmers were reviewed at a roundtable held in Bogotá on 19 April 2016. Participants from national organizations and academia identified the need for an appropriate regulatory framework and emphasized the value of the Voluntary Guidelines when reviewing and updating policies concerning the ownership, use, and transfer of land and other natural resources. The event was organized by the Unidad de Planificación Rural Agropecuaria (UPRA) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and FAO. UPRA, with assistance from FAO, is undertaking a study on land markets to inform the review and updating of policies. 
During 20-21 April 2016, a workshop in Bogotá on the Voluntary Guidelines focused on the “new rurality” of the post-conflict phase to start when the peace accord is signed. This phase is an opportunity to build a new policy and institutional framework to address inequality in access to land and other natural resources, develop infrastructure, and improve social and extension services. Participants noted that the Voluntary Guidelines should be at the core of the new rurality and highlighted their relevance to developing the new framework. They called for the Voluntary Guidelines to be included in the policy process and in the new policies and institutions to be developed. The workshop was hosted by the Universidad Externado de Colombia in collaboration with UPRA and FAO.

Liberia and Sierra Leone

© FAO / Chiara Nicodemi

Two learning programmes on tenure governance and gender-equitable access to land were implemented in Liberia and Sierra Leone to support the development of human and institutional capacity related to governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests and the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. The programmes brought together key stakeholders from both countries and established national communities of practice on tenure governance. They started with multiple sessions of online tutored learning led by an instructor in March 2016 and continued with two workshops (four and five days) in Tokeh, Sierra Leone in April and May 2016 where the participants expanded on the issues identified in the online course and also addressed additional topics. The participants developed action plans and received further support through an online platform that ran for one month after the face-to-face workshop. The Sierra Leone Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment and Chair of the VGGT inter-ministerial committee, Madam Konomanyi, emphasised the importance of the learning programmes in her keynote address. The learning programmes were financially supported by Germany and the United Kingdom (DFID).


© FAO / Sean Gallagher

Increasing the use of the Voluntary Guidelines and strengthening collaboration between civil society and grassroots organizations were the focus of a training programme held in Ulaanbaatar during April 2016. The Training of Trainers exercise enabled 28 participants from 21 organizations to review the process for developing the draft Pastoral Land Law. The training was organized and conducted by People Centered Conservation, using the framework designed by FAO and FIAN International, as facilitator of the IPC working group on land, and with financial support from Belgium. The results of the training programme were presented at a national workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines, which was held during 17-18 May. The 70 participants also discussed the draft Pastoral Land Law and provided suggestions in the plenary and working group sessions. The workshop featured presentations on the Kyrgyz Pastures Law, fisheries tenure, and the assessment of the governance of forest tenure. It was organized by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture and FAO, with financial support from Germany. The Voluntary Guidelines, which have been translated into Mongolian, are now a key reference and are influencing a number of initiatives to improve governance of tenure.

South Africa


A capacity assessment on governance of tenure was conducted by representatives of government, civil society, farmers’ associations, private sector and academia at a national workshop, held in Cape Town during 4-6 May 2016. The workshop built on a national workshop in December 2014, which recommended a detailed examination of capacities. The assessment was based on effective capacity development practices and focused on relevant national policies and laws, organizational and institutional arrangements, and technical and implementing capacities. The 27 participants used the participatory workshop to carry out self-assessments of the current situation of governance of tenure and create a vision for the desired situation. They defined practical suggestions for improvements in the next two years. The assessment lays the basis for a detailed report, which will be reviewed and validated by all participants, and will further refine a set of recommendations for action. The workshop was organized by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and FAO, and with financial support by the United Kingdom (DFID).


© EU Delegation to Sudan, 2016

A new project based on the Voluntary Guidelines has been launched to support small-scale rural farmers, pastoralists and internally displaced persons in Darfur to improve the management of their fragile land resources and promote peaceful and sustainable development. The project will facilitate access to croplands, livestock routes and pastures for rural communities, and support the development of dispute resolution mechanisms to address competition over natural resources. The project agreement was signed on 9 May 2016 by the Delegation of the European Union and FAO, and it is being implemented by FAO with support from the Darfur Land Commission, the Darfur Regional Authority, the Voluntary Return and Resettlement Commission and State Ministries of Agriculture, Animal Resources and Housing and Public Infrastructure. 

United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM)

© FAO / Mackay Rigava

“Good land governance for the 2030 Agenda” was the theme of the fourth high-level forum on United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management, which was convened at UNECA’s Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during 20-22 April 2016. More than 300 geospatial experts from government, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations shared experiences and explored ideas, methods and strategies to support local, regional and global land administration and management initiatives. An outcome was the “Addis Ababa declaration on geospatial information management towards good land governance for the 2030 Agenda” which affirms “the importance of good land administration and management as the pillar of good governance and efficient government to address the challenges and opportunities for the 2030 Agenda, specifically within the framework of the Voluntary Guidelines”. The forum was co-organized by the Government of Ethiopia, UN-GGIM and UNECA.

Read the Declaration