Capturing Knowledge from the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure (VGGT) | Land Portal
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The vision of the Portal is to improve land governance to benefit those with the most insecure land rights and the greatest vulnerability to landlessness through information and knowledge sharing.

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From 7-20 October, 2021, the Land Portal Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are holding an online discussion, Capturing Knowledge from 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), a forum in which  we look forward to your participation.

This online discussion will facilitate the collection of knowledge generated, experiences and lessons learned during the project Supporting Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT).  This project  aimed to help countries make political commitments towards the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, with the explicit outcome of increasing awareness among decision makers, development partners and society at large regarding access to natural resources.  

This project, which invested over USD $15,000,000 over the past nine years, enhanced global processes to improve governance of tenure through collaborative partnerships for longer lasting impacts, while promoting the application of VGGT capacity development tools and materials. This initiative addressed tenure rights of vulnerable groups, gender equality, conflict prevention, increased participation and multi-stakeholder processes. The geographical coverage of the project included countries and regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This discussion aims to identify and document best practices for interventions in improving governance of tenure and securing tenure rights to feed into future project designs.

Over the course of two weeks, this discussion will address the following questions (NB: you are not obliged to answer all questions): 

  1. Based on the VGGT project activities in your country in which you participated or about which you are knowledgeable, what would you consider to be the biggest successes of the project? What could FAO have done better?

  2. Have the capacity development activities implemented by the project in your country – including e-learning programs, blended learning programs, the availability of translated materials related to the VGGT, multi-country exchanges, etc. – addressed capacity gaps and led to concrete actions of advocacy, policy and legal reforms that benefited tenure rights holders including smallholders, indigenous and local communities and others in your country? If so, please describe those actions.

  3. How has the project addressed gender equality in your country? Specifically, how has the application of the VGGT helped to achieve improved gender equality in access to, allocation of and strengthening the tenure rights of women?

  4. What were the innovative methodologies developed by the project that have advanced the equitable formalization and documentation of customary tenure rights, and indigenous and local communities’' rights in your country?

  5. Has this tenure governance project had an impact on national food security and nutrition? If so, how? What could the project have done better in this regard?

  6. Is the mainstreaming of the VGGT and its principles still relevant as a tool for advocacy, decision making and research in support of strengthening tenure rights in your country? If so, what can a project such as this do in the future to advance national land reform agendas?

The main stakeholders targeted for this discussion will be  those who are involved in the project, but we are also interested in hearing from additional stakeholders who have been engaged in the VGGT and their implementation over the past nearly ten years. We look forward to all of your contributions.

Comments

Introductory Remarks by Mr. Javier Molina Cruz, Land Tenure Officer, FAO

 

Introduction

FAO and the Land Portal welcome you to our online discussion running for two weeks, from 6 to 20 October. This discussion will provide an opportunity for project implementers and land governance practitioners to share knowledge and experiences in improving governance of tenure, which will feed into the content of a webinar planned for 27 and 28 October 2021 to which you are all invited. 

 

Overview

Millions of people in the world depend on access to land, fisheries, and forests for their livelihoods. The increase in world population, urbanization, large-scale land-based investments and climate change have led to increased demand and competition for natural resources. To address the increasing demand for food while preserving the ecosystems that sustain life in the planet, land tenure governance (which includes policies, laws and institutions) need to be improved to promote and ensure the sustainable utilization of land and other natural resources.

By 2050, the world will need to feed more than nine billion people worldwide. For the last three years, there has been a rise in world hunger, while the number of people facing chronic food deprivation has increased to over 821 million. Humanity has a great challenge ahead and should invest in a lifelong dedication of innovative and responsive tenure governance systems to tackle this matter. It is widely accepted that tenure arrangements affecting access to natural resources have a high impact on food security and the environment. 

The eradication of hunger and poverty, and the sustainable use of the environment, depend in large measure on how people, communities and others gain access to land, fisheries, and forests. The livelihoods of many, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to these resources. Inadequate and insecure tenure rights to natural resources often result in extreme poverty and hunger, with many tenure problems arising because of weak governance, while the quality of governance affects attempts to fix these problems. In addition to weak governance of tenure, humanity is facing challenges emanating from climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic which are threatening to wipe put the gains made towards achieving zero hunger by 2030.

In response to the challenges, FAO and its partners have been promoting the application of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) as a framework that stakeholders in the land governance landscape can use when developing strategies, policies, legislation and programmes. 

Through the project Supporting the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, over a period of 9 years FAO has raised awareness and built capacities of stakeholders on governance of tenure, developed sustainable partnerships with CSOs and regional institutions while developing capacity development tools as global public goods. This project enhanced global processes to improve governance of tenure through collaborative partnerships for sustainable impacts, while promoting the application of VGGT tools and materials. This initiative addressed tenure rights of vulnerable groups, gender equality, conflict prevention, increased participation and multi-stakeholder processes. The geographical coverage of the project included countries and regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. After nine years of implementation, there are concrete experiences, good practices, knowledge sharing, and lessons learned that can guide others to improve governance of tenure in their own countries.

We look forward to your active participation in the online discussion and subsequent webinar and we value your responses to our questions on how the VGGT has supported global tenure rights.

 
Based on the VGGT project activities in your country in which you participated or about which you are knowledgeable, what would you consider to be the biggest successes of the project? What could FAO have done better?
 

 

On behalf of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Land Portal, welcome to this online discussion on Capturing Knowledge from the Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT). This online discussion will facilitate collecting of knowledge generated, experiences and lessons learned during the FAO project entitled “Supporting Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT).”

This US$ 15 million project aimed to help countries make political commitments towards the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition, with the explicit outcome of increasing awareness among decision-makers, development partners and society at large regarding access to natural resources. It sought to enhance global processes to improve governance of tenure through collaborative partnerships for longer lasting impacts, while promoting the application of VGGT capacity development tools and materials. This initiative addressed tenure rights of vulnerable groups, gender equality, conflict prevention, increased participation and multi-stakeholder processes in countries and regions in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

This online discussion will take place from October 6 - 20 and we hope to have broad participation. It will focus on six guiding questions. We will post a new one every few days. Some of you were actively involved and submit comments based on their experiences. Others may know about some of the activities but did not work on them. And we understand that some of those who will participate in this discussion were neither involved or aware of the project; you can still ask questions and provide input based on your experience related to the VGGT and the governance of tenure. in any of the project activities. We need to hear from all of you as this will greatly enhance the dialogue. 

In other words, we are counting on you, land governance stakeholders from around the world, to openly share your perspective here in this online discussion!

Here is the first question:

Based on the VGGT project activities in your country in which you participated or about which you are knowledgeable, what would you consider to be the biggest successes of the project? What could FAO have done better?

Please provide your comments and return often to the portal to read and react to what others have to say. You are welcome to provide comments in your own language and we will do our best to translate them into English. You may wish to use an online translator such as Deepl (https://www.deepl.com/en/translator) or Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/) to translate comments from others.

Thank you! 

Les réussites sont les suivantes: 

  • Sensibilisation de la population sur l'intérêt et la procédure de la sécurisation des terres domaniales.

  • Une base de données des terres domaniales, une cartographie, et des titres fonciers

  • Les services étatiques en charge du foncier ont appris à travailler de concert et des outils développés

  • La médiation entre un particulier et un représentant d'un service public sur un conflit foncier

  • Un système d'information foncière sur les terres domaniales(SIF_TDs).

  • Production électronique du PV de bornage et mesurage ainsi que le titre foncier

  • FAO pourrait animer les ateliers de sensibilisations régionales sur les VGGT, ce qui pourrait faciliter à cheminer la réforme foncière en cours

  • La FAO pourrait encore apporter un support pour rendre l’accès du public à l’information foncière(SIF)

Progress toward expected results is gradually achieved as communities in Darfur continue gaining comprehensive understanding of different forms of land tenure rights and associated obligations. Contrary to the formal tenure rights, customary rights are not recognized by Sudan constitutions. However, all land tenure holders are equally obliged to pay state taxes and other customary fees (Rusoum) irrespective of whether their land tenure types are recognized or not protected by the constitution. 

The biggest successes of the project during the five years of its implementation included:

Trust: Building trust and confidence among stakeholders over land issues in Darfur Region. At the start of the project in May 2016, discussion over land issues were insinuated with rebellion, political sensitivity, and foreign driven secessionist agenda. Through inclusive capacity development that enhanced stakeholders’ awareness and knowledge on the principles of the voluntary guideline on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forest, perceptions on land issues changed. Currently, anyone can freely express their legitimate land tenure rights in public without fear of repression. 

Changed perceptions: In Darfur, land tenure rights are governed by native administration through customary institutions (Hakoura) that does not formally register individual or group rights. According to the 1970 Unregistered Land Act determined that all land in Sudan that was not registered before its entry into force shall be the property of the Government and be deemed registered as such (Article 4(1)). Thus, both customary institutions and legitimate customary land rights are not recognized by the land laws, while customary institutions and customary land right holders did not recognize the land laws they viewed as discriminatory. To ease the tension between formal and customary institutions, the project created Darfur regional (Technical Advisory Committee), states (State Technical Committees) and locality (Locality Action Groups) level platforms with inclusive representations that developed the culture of working together on land issues where roles of each member recognized. Negative perceptions over customary land tenure rights that existed at government institutions changed significantly as a result of project interventions and changes in the country’s political leader.

Recognition of customary land tenure rights in progress: The project reviewed all types of land laws, ordinances, regulations, and peace agreements in Sudan against the provisions of the voluntary guidelines core principles. The review findings were validated in a three-day workshop (February 2019) with representatives of the country’s law-making judicial institutions, lawyers’ associations, judges, land service providing government stakeholders and diverse community groups including women and youth groups. The report was shared with state and national government officials including PM and Minster of Justice. The gaps in the legal framework on land, equipped communities, and their leaders to vocally articulate their demands for recognition of customary land tenure rights in various policy decision making forums including negotiation between Sudanese transitional government and Darfur Rebel groups in Juba, South Sudan. This resulted inclusion of 15 articles (chapter 7) on customary land rights in Juba Peace Agreement (JPA) signed on 11th September 2019.  

Secured customary Agricultural land rights through formal registration: Through inclusive consultation processes, the project harmonized agriculture land registration procedures, processes, timeframe and registration fees; and initiated agriculture land registration that created overwhelming demand to formally secure agriculture land tenure rights in Darfur. The government institutions (land Services providers) also acknowledged the necessity of reducing formal agriculture land registration fees and bringing the land service closer to legitimate tenure rights holders. For the first time in the history of Darfur, the project supported 346 internally displaced returnees in four return sites ( Edeliem, Haraza, Kobei and Urukoum in Yasin, Mershing, Rural Elfasher and Zalingie localities respectively) formally register their agricultural lands. 

VGGT principles recognized: Although there are underlying institutional challenges in terms of organizational operational and individual capacity to responsibly govern all types of land tenure rights (customary and formal) in Sudan, the need to advance the use of five general principles of VGGT is getting recognition which lays foundations for expansion of the project to other regions of Sudan. For instance, South Kordofan state formally requested FAO to expand its EU funded land tenure project currently implemented in Darfur as the state shares similar land issues. 

Established Institute of Land Tenure Governance in University of Khartoum: With the support of Transversal project co-funded by EU and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the project initiated the establishment of Institute of Land Tenure Governance (ILTG) in University of Khartoum for the first time in the history of Sudan. The institute secured all required higher education approvals including taught and research curriculum for undergraduate and graduate. FAO-Sudan and University of Khartoum initiated a memorandum of understanding for partnership that aimed to advance knowledge base of Sudanese academic institution on responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forest and provides opportunities for local capacities to address land issues. . Such capacity does not currently exist in the country. Therefore, the institute will play a key role on capacity development of relevant stakeholders with a view to improving governance of land and related natural resources. The capacity development extended to public and private sector, organizations of farmers and small -scale producers, fishers and of forest users, academia and local communities enables participatory decision-making process that improves governance of land tenure systems in the future. Moreover, the institute will also be a means to advance and sustain project achievements, supports future National Land Commission and the land reform processes in Sudan. 

  1. Advocacy at political level: Increased advocacy would have grasped the required attention of federal level politicians on the project achievements and prioritized and land tenure rights issues as agenda for achieving national food security.  

  2. Digitization of agricultural land registration processes: this would have enhanced the capacity of land service providers, reduced registration process and brought the services closer to end users.

Dear Abdirahman

Thank you for these extensive and interesting comments on the project in Sudan. There is much to discuss here but I will confine my reaction to this question: What do you think is the next step to further strengthen customary land rights in Sudan?

Best regards,

Darryl

Response:
1. Political commitment, stable institutional structure and institutional memory,
2. Prospective or retrospective land rights reconstitution,
3. Government leadership and contributions,
4. Reforming Sudanese's land laws using VGGT principles - rights based approach.
5. It is only through Academic Institutions, where understanding and capacities of Land, fisheries and forest tenure professionals,  state institutions, communities, civil societies and private business can be nurtured  to address complex land tenure governance systems,

R/ Los mayores éxitos del proyecto consisten en la marcación de una hoja de ruta, para la formalización de predios de entidades de derecho publico y me atrevo a decir que para la formalización de predios privados, por que de una u otra forma el procedimiento casi que viene siendo el mismo, puesto que se deben garantizar siempre el debido proceso para que terceras personas intervengan en el proceso cuando consideren tengan mejor derecho, pero además de ser un éxito esta hoja de ruta indudablemente debo resaltar que la formalización de predios de entidades de derecho publico facilita la formación y ejecución de proyectos que no hacen mas que satisfacer las necesidades de las comunidades, bien sea la educación, salud etc., para mi gusto es el mayor cumplido, muchas veces en las entidades no se cuenta con los presupuestos ni personal idóneo para hacer posible la formalización de predios, en nuestro caso en San Juan del Cesar- la Guajira, yo soy el encargado de la titulación soy abogado con cierta experiencia, pero por ejemplo no contamos con un profesional técnico para los levantamientos y no se cuenta con los recursos para contratarlo, FAO además de esa asesoría jurídica nos ha brindado ese acompañamiento y apoyo técnico del cual viviremos agradecidos, pues nos han colaborado tanto en el proyecto para el que llegaron como en otras formalizaciones fuera del mismo, solo así hicimos posibles varias formalización y por ello hoy en día tenemos cerca de 20 proyectos esperando aprobación en el DNP; nos gustaría que nos siguieran brindando ese apoyo técnico y así seguir avanzando no solo en predios de derecho publico si no en predio privados.

Je pense que la FAO aurait pu faire:

  • Contribuer aux processus de réforme foncière nationale :

  • Une feuille de route + une  stratégie d'amélioration des cadres juridiques et administratifs 

  • Un espace favorable aux progrès en matière de reconnaissance des droits fonciers légitimes des plus vulnérables et d'un accès équitable et sécurisé aux ressources naturelles 

  1. Reconnaître le rôle que jouent les femmes et les jeunes dans la lutte contre l'insécurité alimentaire et de créer des opportunités pour ces jeunes ruraux notamment en renforçant leur sécurité foncière 

  2. Plus d'implication des communautés rurales dans les processus de décision liés aux questions foncières 

  3. Plus de transparence en matière de gouvernance foncière et un accroissement de la confiance entre les autorités et les concernés 

  4. Renforcement des mécanismes communautaires de résolution des conflits fonciers et l'idée de justice préventives

  5. Même si on observe une reconnaissance croissante des impacts positifs des approches participatives (des solutions plus légitimes, cohérentes et durables) les mettre en œuvre reste un défi (le foncier reste une question sensible, l’exclusion des groupes marginalisés existe toujours, etc.)

  6. Solution proposée : ciblage, formation et motivation des « agents de changement», (les décideurs, les acteurs de la société civils, les leaders locaux et religieux, les juges, les enquêteurs, etc., ayant la volonté et la capacité de changer les choses) pour transformer les principes en actions et former d’autres agents afin d’opérer un changement concret et durable sur le terrain.

  7. Les DV, en tant que document de nature volontaire, constituent un référentiel souple et facile à contextualiser pour la mise en œuvre d’approches innovantes: sensibilisation des acteurs, création de mécanismes multi-acteurs, analyses concrètes pour trouver des solutions aux questions foncières, conception d’outils contextualisés de renforcement des capacités à tout niveau.

Cher Diha,

Merci pour ces commentaires et suggestions. Par ailleurs, pourriez-vous nous faire part de quelques réalisations du projet de la FAO en Mauritanie ? En d'autres termes, qu'est-ce qui s'est bien passé en plus de ce qui, selon vous, pourrait être amélioré ?

Meilleures salutations, Darryl

Introduction of VGGT (Land) principles, approaches and tools which timely inform the revision of Central Resolution #19 on Land Law and Policies, paving the way to improve legal and policy frameworks by 2023.

In particular, mainstreaming the VGGT principles in the revision of the Vietnamese Land Law 2013 for more responsible land tenure governance.

The biggest successes of the project in Cameroon are:

  • Decisions taken in favor of better management of land resources: With regard to rights allocation processes, project activities have contributed to the government authorities' decision-making, including protecting and securing the tenure rights of customary populations and communities, and limiting the development of land grabs for speculative purposes.

  • Two land-based investors adopted two significant policies, in response to concerns raised by a number of stakeholders (including the LandCam project) at the local, national and international levels: zero-deforestation policy and sustainability council.

Challenge

  • Cameroon is in the process of a land law reform. So many stakeholders are providing some proposals to the state. The fact is that some proposals of the Civil society may not be taken up since the State can prioritize those coming from the private sector and International Financial Institutions considering economic interests.

Dear Sandrine,

Thank you for your comments. I'm especially interested on the challenge related to land law reform. What do you think could be done to ensure that civil society proposals are seriously considered? What would you advise?

Best regards,

Darryl

Community awareness on VGGT has helped the communities to be knowledgeable of good practices to be followed when dealing with land governance issues and this is also helping them to identify quickly and report any abuse of tenure rights to relevant authorities. Land cases are now being solved at local level amicably as a result of having  well trained community structures in VGGT. Leadership of community structures is able to make a follow-up on cases related to land tenure rights with authorities and this is facilitating speedy access to justice to those who have no voice on their own e.g women, orphans and other vulnerable groups of the society.

Dear Charles,

thank you for your contribution. It is encouraging to hear that conflict prevention and mitigation at local level was among the achievemnt of the project. When you refer to community structures, are those newly established ones through the project, or existing ones, and how these structures interact with customary authorities?

The committees are the ones which have been newly established as a result of project implementation

Thank you Charles for sharing with us your experiences in the application of the VGGT in the implementation of the Customary Land Act, 2016.   The VGGT project supported the translation of the Customary Land Act and the VGGT  inti Chichewa and also developed an illustrated version of the Customary Land Act.   It would be interesting to hear how these tools have been used to enhance cpacities of the land administration institutions established under the Act and other stakeholders in Malawi.  Has the project provided adequate implementation time for the rollout of these tools to the local levels througout the country? What could be done better to ensure that the customary land administration institutions  inluding land committees are capacitated?

The Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is a Regional Economic community of the Africa Union responsible for the East and the Horn of Africa. Working with the Member States, the VGGTs have influenced and have been widely used in the development of National Land Policies in 3 of our 7 Member States – Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan. At Regional level, IGAD has used the VGGTs together with the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa to develop a regional gender responsive model National Land Policy that is now informing policy reforms and development in the IGAD Region.

IGAD is using the AU Policy Framework on Pastoralism, the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure as key reference documents for pastoral policy development and implementation of a regional program on sustainable land use and management in the Somali cluster – a cross border area for Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. This program addresses issues of tenure security, the role of pastoral communities in pastoral management, guarantee equal access to pastoral resources for women and other vulnerable groups, establish processes for the resolution of cross-boundary disputes, and improve technologies of resource use. The IGAD Member States established a multi-stakeholder Pastoral Land Governance Platform comprising of government, academia, civil society, agricultural producers, and pastoral associations in 2018 as a knowledge sharing and learning platform.

Dear Esther,

Thank you for your comments. I'm interested in knowing more about the Pastoral Land Governance Platform. What are its objectives, activities to date and plans for the future? How might it be strengthened?

Best regards,

Darryl

Arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) dominate the landmass of the IGAD region – form 60-70% of the total landmass. ASALs receive less than 600mm of rainfall per year and are susceptible to cyclical patterns of short and more persistent droughts. Pastoralism, an extensive and mobile rearing of livestock on communal rangelands, is the major livelihood and production system practiced in ASALs thereby employing a greater percentage of the population. Pastoralism involves mobility to access seasonally available pastures and water. There are also agro-pastoralists who are largely sedentary, combining livestock rearing with crop production.

Pastoral management in ASALs is based on the utilization and management of seasonal pastures: dry season and rainy season pastures. Traditionally, dry season pastures are deliberately not used during the wet season to enable them to regenerate for use during the dry season. Thus, permanent use of one area is avoided to prevent depletion and degradation of pasture, and large tracts are seeming left idle during the rainy season. Thus, pastoralists are not concerned with the management of fixed territories of the land but adjust their grazing grounds in relation to climatic factors, in which they may have to negotiate access to pastures with their neighbors. This results in pastures being held as common property rather than individual property, in which multiple users negotiate and compete for rights. In some instances, rights to pastures may be established through the control of wells and access of livestock to water rather than through land.

Pastoral land management strategies have been poorly understood in national policy frameworks, where pastoral lands are under-used, poorly managed, and degraded. This leads policymakers to assume that pastoralism is outmoded and that pastoral lands would be better protected, managed, and conserved if they were allocated to other sectors. These perspectives legitimize the appropriation of pastoral lands and heighten the vulnerability of pastoralists. However, pastoralists make considerable contributions to national economies. For example, in Sudan the pastoral-dominated livestock sector contributes 80% of the agricultural GDP; in Ethiopia, pastoral areas supply the export of live animals.

Pastoral land-use strategies are not easily translated into policy. Land policies have tended to confer land rights based on individual claims to specific plots of land. Policies that recognize rights to land-based on development and investment in the land have worked against pastoralists and in the favor of farmers, who have frequently been able to claim rights over land established in dominantly pastoral areas. Therefore, pastoralists have lost considerable areas of land to other land users. The boundaries of rangelands are not stable, and they are often constructed out of political interests and contradictory claims of different groups, rather than constituting distinct, authoritative, and historically defined categories. Therefore, pastoral rights in land are not easily reduced to an individual title, and pastoral areas are easily encroached upon by other users.

The African Union (AU) policy framework for pastoralism explicitly recognizes the rights of pastoralists, and the need to provide security, services, infrastructure, and economic opportunities in pastoral areas. The framework supports pastoralism as a way of life and as a production system; it recognizes the importance of mobility to make efficient use of rangeland resources. The AU framework and guidelines for land policy, as adopted in July 2009 by the AU Assembly of Heads of States and government, explicitly supports measures designed to improve indigenous tenure arrangement and acknowledge the legitimacy of indigenous land rights. It recommends that national land policy processes must recognize the role of local and community-based land administration/management institutions and structures, alongside those of the State. The framework highlights that protection of pastoral ecosystems will require policies that address issues of tenure security, the role of pastoral communities in pastoral management.

Recent land reform initiatives in the IGAD countries, based on customary rights, have attempted to recognize the land rights of pastoralists. The Ugandan Land Act enables common land associations to obtain customary certificates for their common lands and group rights to manage and protect their interests in rangeland management. Kenya’s Community Land Act (2016) provides a framework through which customary holdings are to be identified and registered. A review of land governance legal, policy, and institutional frameworks for IGAD member States and rangeland management of the three RPLRP countries was conducted by IGAD in 2016. In general, policies supporting pastoral land governance are adopted by most countries but implementation is very weak.

The previous study shows that in sub-Saharan Africa 70% of rangelands are considered moderately to severely degraded. Degradation manifests itself through the increase of bare ground and the replacement of perennial grasses by undesirable plant species resulting in reduced forage availability. When land is poorly governed, the associated problems often lead to disputes, land degradation, and lost socio-economic development opportunities. Land governance is critical for reducing poverty and for enhancing economic development, gender equality, social stability, and sustainable resource use. Failure to resolve land issues is increasingly recognized as a barrier to achieving other development objectives, including the SDGs.

The overall objective of the Forum is to enhance pastoral land governance convergence among IGAD member states especially in the cross-border areas to enhance sustainable development of pastoralism.

The establishment of a multi-stakeholder Pastoral Land Governance Platform comprising of IGAD  departments working on pastoralism, government, academia, civil society, agricultural producers, and pastoral associations is critical to raise awareness on the frameworks and tools available to support the enhancement of pastoral land governance at member states level in the IGAD region. These frameworks AU Policy Framework on Pastoralism, the Framework, and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, and the IGAD Transhumance Protocol.

The Inaugural Pastoral Land Governance Forum will take the form of a two-day learning event to be held on 14 – 15 December 2021. Experiences of countries on responding to different pastoralist issues will be shared.

The question of land in Namibia is one of the burning issues that the country inherited at independence. To that effect, the country held 2 National Land Conferences (1991 and 2018) in an effort  to address some of the burning issues pertaining to land tenure rights. In the latter conference, FAO participated and made a presentation to the conference participants on the good practices of land tenure as per the VGGT principles. As a follow-up to this presentation, members of parliament, having a law making and oversight role were also trained on the VGGT principles which was very pertinent as the 2nd  Land Conference called for the review of legislation on land redistribution and administration . In an effort to also bring awareness of the VGGT principles to local communities,  to build capacity of traditional authorities on administration of communal land, the VGGT document was translated into 2 local languages – Otjiherero and Khoekhoegowab with the aim of extending this translation to other local languages as well (resource permitting). Furthermore,  a VGGT Popular version for communal land administration was developed to further enhance the delivery of the VGGT among stakeholders through training as it carries the key messages that are aligned with the Communal Land Reform Act and the resolutions of the 2nd National Land Conference.

What FAO could have done better?

Translation into more local languages and to extend the VGGT training to the Communal Land Boards. This is very important as the Communal Land Reform Amendment Act of 2013 gives to the Communal Land Boards responsibilities to administer the allocation, transfer, registration and cancellation, of Customary Land Rights and Leasehold Rights.

From your experiences, it shows that there is a high-level commitment in  Namibia to apply the VGGT in the administration of communal land.  One of the resolutions of the 2nd National Land Conference was to investigate ancestral land claims and come up with resolutions that redress the colonial land dispossessions.  How can the VGGT be applied to implement the recommendations of the Ancestral Lands Commission of expanding some of the small communal areas that are surrounded by commercial farms without negatively impacting national food security?

Une de plus grande réussite aujourd’hui, c’est l’aboutissement de processus inclusif de l’élaboration de la politique foncière rurale du Niger et la mise en place de comités de Transhumances pour une transhumance transfrontalière apaisée dans le cadre de l’amélioration de la gouvernance des terres pastorales. La participation effective et en connaissance de cause des acteurs du développement rural est un grand mérite de la mise en œuvre des Directives volontaires sur la gouvernance du tenure (VGGT).

Cher Adam,

Merci pour ces commentaires et suggestions. Quelles sont les prochaines étapes au Niger pour promouvoir la transhumance transfrontalière pacifique ? Comment les VGGT pourraient-elles être utilisées pour soutenir cela ?

Meilleures salutations,

Darryl

La plus grande réussite de la mise en œuvre des VGGT dans mon pays est l’élaboration de la politique foncière du Niger à laquelle j’ai pris part du début à la fin 

A mon avis la FAO a fait de son mieux elle a soutenu ce processus financièrement du début jusqu’à la fin mais elle aurait du faire une large diffusion du document des VGGT, pour le cas de mon pays cette diffusion des VGGT n’a pas été suffisante ce qui amené la société civile de chercher des financements complémentaires  pour faire connaitre ce document par les acteurs afin d’obtenir la légitimité de la politique à travers plusieurs consultations et ateliers.

Hello to All. Thank you to those who have commented thus far. We appreciate your excellent contributions.  We really need to hear from others, especially those who were involved in one or more of the activities under the project.

In addition, many of you have been involved in FAO-supported VGGT activities over the past several years. Please tell us your stories, focusing on what you did, what worked well and what could have been done better.

Thanks,
Darryl

One of key successes would be the translation and revision of the VGGT Lao version. The VGGT books were also printed and disseminated to stakeholders, including CSOs, NGOs, and relevant government agencies. There is greater awareness by local stakeholders especially the CSOs, NGOs, some responsible investors/private companies. A most significant achievement could be a sign of buy-in by government agencies, such as technical departments of some Ministries (e.g., Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, MONRE; Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, MAF; Ministry of Planning and Investment, MPI).

The biggest success of the project is to improve governance of tenure through mainstreaming of VGGT principles in the revision of the Land Law 2013 of Vietnam. Currently, the Land Law 2013 is one of major laws to be revised in Vietnam. The principles and good practices of VGGT are significant to support the revision of Land Law 2013 toward more responsible governance of tenure, protect interests of smallholder farmers who own most of agricultural land as well as the interests of enterprises when investing in agriculture. In addition, capacity building activities have enhanced understanding of VGGT principles for government authorities and provided them with knowledge of how to create an enabling environment for responsible agricultural investments.  

The project’s results are good but mostly at national level. It would be better to provide capacity building on responsible agricultural investment and VGGT principles to local authorities and related stakeholders at local level to have broader impact.

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT)  and other instruments of land governance have been at the core of the Support to Land Governance and Sustainable Development project which the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been supporting in Malawi for three years. VGGT has been significant in the project in a number of ways, despite limited time and resources that were allocated to activities aimed at popularizing the guidelines while linking them to the implementation of new land laws in Malawi.

The land bills 2016 were drafted and lobbied in line with VGGT to address gaps. The law now provides a consultative process in all land acquisitions and land-based investments to recognize and respect legitimate land tenure rights. Thus VGGT and related instruments of land administration were also imparted to key structures established through the new land laws as well as existing structures that shape and set agenda of policy implementation like the media.

One of the biggest successes of the VGGT project activities was the tangible influence they had to steer the acceptance and popularization of new land laws, whose spirit is to ensure secure land tenure and are informed by the principles of good land governance. Through the VGGT activities, the target audience of such initiatives and participants were able to appreciate the key objectives of the new land laws and what they intend to address. This informed key stakeholders on the linkages with land administration in the country in relation to the following aspects informing the new pieces of land legislation:

-       Recognizing and respecting all legitimate tenure right holders and their rights, including women and children,

-       Safeguarding legitimate tenure rights against threats and infringements related to customary land,

-       Avoidance of disputes relating to land tenure, conflicts and corruption and

-       Promoting and facilitating the enjoyment of legitimate tenure rights.

The VGGT activities complimented the above aspects and the aspect of gender equality and mainstreaming in the programmes helped women to appreciate their land tenure rights and security needs. Thus, the activities concurred with key provisions of new land laws, notably the gender balance in land administration and tenure rights provided for in both the principal Land Act 2016 and Customary Land Act 2016.

Therefore, the biggest success of the VGGT project activities was their ability to establish an understanding of the social and economic benefits of the introduction of new land legislation and the main objective behind the land reform agenda. Beneficiaries of the activities were able to link and relate the new land laws and the VGGT provisions which are voluntary, while the law is mandatory.

However, FAO as a lead provider of implementation support to the Ministry of Lands, could have moved faster and earlier in the advocacy for the voluntary guidelines, without necessarily having to wait for other land reform activities of the Ministry. The delay of FAO in the VGGT activities created some confusion among members of the public as they, in some cases, failed to relate the voluntary guidelines and the enforcement of new land laws. The confusion created a perception that FAO was behind the introduction of new land laws in the country. There was need for a more systematic approach on VGGT than directly linking them to new land laws.

Thank you for the elaborate response to the question.  Very interesting points regarding advocacy for application of the VGGT in Malawi.   Your experiences are key in shaping and informing future design of VGGT interventions. We would like to learn more on the impact of the  VGGT awareness raising workshops that were held in Malawi in 2014 supported by civil society (eg. Landnet) and promoted at national and local levels to influence policy and best practices on responsible governance.   

Expropriation and Compensations

The expansion of towns in regions has increased drastically which is a good achievements to the government because it had contributed to the economic development of the country. It has also benefited the country in terms of job creation as well as bringing development to the people in the regions. Following below are the major challenges that FAO could have done better?

According to the approved compensation policy guideline approved in terms of Cabinet Decision

No. 17th/15.09.09/003 of 15 September 2009 it has stipulated all the required procedures to be followed when it comes to Expropriation and Compensation valuation however most of the procedures has been ignored by Local Authorities. 

1.    Part C of the compensation policy has indicated that the affected person who opt to be given alternative land elsewhere for him her to be able to continue with farming activities as usual, this point has never been considered which leads to many people become landless and has immensely contributed to poverty which caused most community become landless and forced to migrate from rural to the cities/urban areas. 

2.    Most of the community after received their compensation payments, they ended up spending money for something else because of the unavailability of the land.  A good example is if the person has been staying in Oshakati townland and been paid money and not have alternative land to live, it will also one of the contribution factors that leads to migrations people from rural areas to cities and leads to increasing of migrations to the  urban areas.

3.    The most affected communities are also resisting  to be valued in towns like Okahao, Helao Nafidi and Oshakati  plus many others due to the fact their complains are laying on where will they go if they vacate the existing customary land they are having at that moment.  They also further saying there are no available land in their jurisdiction area of their Traditional Authority. This is one of FAO could have done better including point number two of Part C of the compensation Policy?

The policy has quoted as follows: …….

Where  the  affected  person   opts  to be given  alternative    land  elsewhere    in order  to continue with  their  farming  activities.

1.       The Regional Compensation Committee shall strive to provide the affected person with alternative land of similar size as the one which has been taken away from him, but subject   to availability. 

2.       Ideally, the Regional Compensation Committee shall strive to provide the alternative land within   the same traditional authority jurisdiction. However  should   the land be insufficient  or  not  be available,  the affected person may be relocated  to  other traditional  authority  area, commercial farms where  there is land in consultation with the relevant   Traditional  Authorities or line ministry.

3.        In addition,   the affected   person   shall be compensated    for being deprived   of the right of use of the land and other   improvements    in terms   of Part D below.

I was fortunate to participate in all the information and capacity-building workshops run by UN-FAO in South Africa except for one.  The process was run with much energy and a high expense (travel, hotel, etc.).  I remember the processes vividly and I cannot forget the excitement and hope that the process brought among government and civil society formations, promising an era of what was purportedly an era of consultative policy formulation processes through the MSP.   I also remember vividly one other promise the came out of this process, the promise of mainstreaming land law reform in line with the VGGTs.  Without getting into too much detail the UN FAO  process of VGGTs has at best had lackluster results and at works disappointing results in South Africa.  Towards the end of 2020, the first MSP was convened virtually, with much fanfare and what appeared to be good attendance -- with an opening address by the Minister Thoko Didiza.  As part of LandNNES we had spent a lot of time, energy and resources developing policy proposals that would feed into the MSP.  This meeting turned out to be the greatest sham of all time, only serving as a show of empty consultation by government.  I look back to history of land law policy development with disappointment, as I have seen government embarking on other similar policy processes, which ended up as window dressing excercisises.  One such process played was personified by the High Level Panel (HLP) that was led by the former president Kgalema Motlanthe in 1017,   which undertook an evaluation of South Africa's law reform, making precise findings.  Notwithstanding the elaborate and costly consultative processes which underpinned this report, this report continued to gather dust in government offices with zero action from government.  Many of the recommendations emanated from the HLP were later restated in the subsequent Presidential Panel on Agriculture and Land Reform.  The extent to which the latter process regurgitated the HLP proposals made one wonder why the government kept kicking the can down the road.  Among the recommendations emanating from the HLP, was a recommendation to disband Ingonyama Trust.  This matter is now subject of a groundbreaking court ruling in a case (CASAC and Rural Women's Movement v Ingonyama Trust) which has sent shock waves into the policy design rooms.   In the light of this ruling, the government has been sent on a tailspin with no option but to formulate policy backwards at a hell of a speed.  Why the government ignored the HLP recommendation by taking a conscious decision to resolve this matter is unexplainable.   The attitude of the post-apartheid government to public participation and consultation processes is glaring in law reform processes, where parliament embarks in very expensive consultation processes, and end up ignoring public and civil society proposals and promulgating in their own directions.   This is all a sham unless the big-brother attitude of government takes a different turn.

Thank you for this comment. I can understand how disappointing this has been. I don't know the specifics but I do know that significant progress in the governance of tenure cannot proceed without the requisite political will from the government.  I hope that things will change someday in South Africa.

 
Have the capacity development activities implemented by the project in your country – including e-learning programs, blended learning programs, the availability of translated materials related to the VGGT, multi-country exchanges, etc. – addressed capacity gaps and led to concrete actions of advocacy, policy and legal reforms that benefited tenure rights holders including smallholders, indigenous and local communities and others in your country? If so, please describe those actions.
 

Hello to All,

Thanks to those who have commented on question 1. While there is still time to add more comments I have a few take-aways from the responses we have thus far. It seems the primary achievements of the project include the following:

  1. Built awareness and understanding of core VGGT principles among all stakeholders (Sudan, Malawi, Namibia).
  2. Built awareness of, respect for and, in some cases, actually documented customary land rights (Sudan, Cameroon).
  3. Helped communities understand and utilize VGGT principles to avoid or address land conflicts (Malawi).
  4. Began building educational infrastructure to support improved land governance (Sudan).
  5. Strengthened land rights through formalization programs (Colombia).
  6. Incorporated VGGT principles into new/revised land laws or national land policies (Vietnam, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger).
  7. Helped to achieve more responsible land-based investments (Cameroon).
  8. Improved governance of pastoral land tenure and avoided conflicts (Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia).

I'm sure this is an incomplete list so please add to it.

Now, on to question 2. It is:

Have the capacity development activities implemented by the project in your country – including e-learning programs, blended learning programs, the availability of translated materials related to the VGGT, multi-country exchanges, etc. – addressed capacity gaps and led to concrete actions of advocacy, policy and legal reforms that benefited tenure rights holders including smallholders, indigenous and local communities and others in your country? If so, please describe those actions.

Tell us what you think!

Thanks,
Darryl

 

This is the first time VGGT has been officially introduced to state agencies from ministerial to provincial level. The delegates, who are representatives from state agencies, highly appreciated the contents of the VGGT and its applicability to the practical work of state agencies, especially those supporting the drafting legal documents process. The participants also shared that FAO should continue to introduce the VGGT to provincial government agencies, as this is where the VGGT will be most clearly applied. FAO should organize training courses on VGGT for provincial government agencies, provide technical assistance to these agencies to develop policies that can apply VGGT principles.

Capacity building is one of the major challenges facing the country in other areas of expertise land Tax and Valuation administration.  Benchmarking and availability of expertise in the field of Valuation and Estate Managements there is a deficits that requires an attention.  There is a gap when it comes benchmarking with other countries in some areas in order to see how other countries are doing in terms of Valuation and land Tax administration in areas such as statutory valuation and valuations of specialized properties. The areas  addressed are the ones mostly has an impact in land reform  which leads to concrete actions of advocacy in areas such as policy and legal reformat that can benefit land tenure right holders.

Capacity gaps in the advocacy for VGGT were not fully addressed by the project’s capacity development activities. This was so due to several challenges, key of which was the delays that the country as a whole experienced in passing the new land laws through Parliament and putting them into effect in time. This delay, or challenges, led to the suspension of some VGGT activities as they could not be implemented before the new land laws were effected.

So when the laws were finally effected in 2018, there was little or no time at all to enhance capacity development activities as the political situation after enactment of the laws also slowed down the whole process. Government scaled down some public engagement activities related to land reforms due to the political atmosphere ahead of tripartite elections mindful that any land policies are perceived with suspicion by sections of the public and political opponents.

Hence, e-learning and blended initiatives, translation and availability of translated VGGT materials could not be disseminated in time to all stakeholders, thereby creating an information gap, which was not easy to seal during implementation of voluntary guidelines activities later.

Since 2015, the capacity on VGGT was built at various levels to ensure domestication and facilitate smooth implementation. At national level, there were a series of Training of Trainers workshops by FAO Rome Technical team and FAO technical consultants, as well as Ministry of lands technical staff.

Another general blow is the illiteracy levels among other stakeholders like the public, traditional and other community leaders. This made message understanding and meaning taking difficult. Actions of advocacy were therefore not clearly taken and understood. Some of the actions taken that required a good understanding and eloquence were:

-       Targeted Parliamentary workshops on VGGT and Right to Food

-       Media orientation on VGGT

-       Civil Society and Gender focal points orientation on VGGT and Access and Right to Land

-       Development and dissemination of IEC materials on VGGT and secure land tenure

-       Dissemination of translated VGGT materials to community leaders and their subjects

-       Engagement of Customary Land Committees on VGGT to easily reach out to GVHs and their subjects.

Analysis of current gaps in the Land Law, future trends, global practices and lessons documented by FAO. In particular, the project team analyzed legal provisions on land right transfers, administration; status of land tenure governance, and land concentration & accumulation in light of VGGT principles with case studies in selected provinces.

Capacity building and knowledge sharing sessions specifically targeting law/policy makers, development practitioners, and academia.

Based on the VGGT project activities in your country in which you participated or about which you are knowledgeable, what would you consider to be the biggest successes of the project? What could FAO have done better?

 

I am a civil servant of Hanoi City, and unlike other localities, Hanoi receives little support from FAO projects. Personally, I see that FAO has had a number of projects in Vietnam that focus on policy making and technology transfer in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and food security.

 

Vietnam had a long wartime period and up to now, despite the industrialisation, it is still considered an agricultural country with a very high percentage of population having their main income comes from agricultural production. The majority of land is also agricultural and forestry land.

 

Since 1975, Vietnam has been an unified country. Food security has always been prioritized by the Party and Government of Vietnam and is a goal of the whole nation. However, during the subsidized economy, agricultural practices were obsolete and highly dependent on nature. Without a developed industry sector and almost no income coming from industry, tourism, forestry or fisheries, before 1986, Vietnam was a poor country.

 

In order to ensure food security, during this time, Vietnam has received from other socialist countries food, machinery and equipment, and support in training of engineers and workers, as well as in building transport infrastructure constructions, factories, industrial sites, and agricultural and forestry farms.

 

FAO has cooperated with the Government of Vietnam and has had an office in Hanoi since 1978. Together with FAO experts, Vietnamese experts and engineers have created numerous appropriate and practical model that helped solved a number of challenges in the implementation of the food security program, including dealing with avian flu, planning the agricultural system, and developing rural areas, etc.

 

Personally, I think that FAO's greatest success is helping Vietnam achieve food security, because the ultimate goal of policy making and technology transfer is to ensure food needs are meet, which is one of the pillars for social stability.

 

What can FAO do better?

 

I can see that in the upcoming period from 2021 to 2025 and with a vision to 2030, FAO should research and support the following policies:

- Food security, food safety;

- Assessment of agricultural planning in the Red River Delta and Mekong River Delta, as well as assessment of the improvement and sustainable use of natural resources for food and agriculture. The problem is that hydroelectric dam constructions in China are severely affecting downstream communities’ living environment, agricultural activities, aquaculture, prevention of saltwater intrusion. This forces the adjustment the structure of sustainable investment in agriculture.

- Support research efforts in order to propose solutions to the Government of Vietnam to restore the operation of state-owned agricultural and forestry farms, so that these economic establishments can become models in sustainable development, especially application of science and technology in agriculture.

The VGGT document was translated into Otjiherero and Khoekheogowab, which are 2 of the local tribes who experienced vast land dispossession during the colonial era.  A VGGT Popular version was also developed to present the VGGT within the context of Namibia.  Although it is still in its initial stages of implementation, FAO plans to use these translated documents as training material during the envisaged VGGT training of  members of parliament, Traditional Authorities and other relevant stakeholders. The Traditional Authorities are particularly important as they are mandated to manage communal land on behalf of Government. 

The capacity development activities implemented by the project in my country have addressed capacity gaps and led to concrete actions of advocacy, policy and legal reforms that benefited tenure rights holders including smallholders, indigenous and tribal peoples and others in my country. This is witnessed by the new land laws which are mainstreaming issues of VGGT enacted in recent years. These new land laws have recognized the importance of land ownership by the indigenous people by putting a specially customary land Act. In this Act customary land will be required to be registered in order to ensure permanent ownership by the indigenous.

Thank you Charles for acknowledging the importance of the VGGT in capacitating key stakehlders in customary land management in Malawi. Can you highlight a little more how the local level customary structures also benefitted from the capacity development. This will help other countries with customary structures to learn from your experiences.

Indudablemente todas las capacitaciones e intercambios brindados ayudaron a que se hicieran algunas reformas que posibilitan y facilitan el procedimiento administrativo para la titulación de predios tanto privados como de Derecho Publico, aunque el enfoque fue para predios de derecho publico insisto que sirvieron para ambos casos, todas esas comunidades a las que llegamos con el equipo FAO para hacer el trabajo técnico de los predios impactaron de forma positiva, anteriormente mucha gente no le gustaba formalizar sus predios por diferentes motivos; primero por que lo primero que piensan es e el pago de impuesto, otros por el gasto etc. Pero a raíz de todo este proyecto se disparo un poco las solicitudes de formalización de predios privados, luego de verificar en realidad los beneficios como lo es la seguridad jurídica de sus predios, en muchas socializaciones con lideres comunitarios donde se les explicaron los beneficios que tenia la formalización de predios, quedaban convencidos muy a pesar de todas las dudas que podían generarse en cuanto al tema, hoy en día las normas nacionales en Colombia han facilitado mucho la formalización, existe la cesión a titulo gratuito con el cumplimiento de ciertos requisitos en fin este proyecto a logrado lo que históricamente parecía imposible lograr en el país y sus zonas rurales, que era la formalización de predios tanto urbanos como rurales, lo que va a llevar a que en unos años se pueda tener un dato mas preciso sobre el inventario de tierras en cada ente territorial.

L’élaboration de la politique foncière du Niger a suivi un processus inspiré des directives volontaires et du cadre et lignes directrices sur les politiques foncières.

 

Pour s’en inspiré le processus a assuré une formation de tous ses acteurs sur les documents tels que la formation des chefs traditionnels qui disposent d’un pouvoir de conciliation des parties en matière coutumière civile et de transactions foncières ; la formations des membres de la société civile constituée en consortium d’OSC dans un comité multi acteurs les organisations de la société civile ont occupé des postes de responsabilité en occupant le poste de vice présidence du comité et le poste de présidence du sous comité suivi des recommandations de états généraux du foncier.

 

Le consortium des OSC a organisé 120 rencontres qui ont mobilisé 3130 acteurs pour des renforcements des capacités des producteurs sur les VGGT et du cadre et lignes directrices

18 ateliers régionaux ont été aussi organisés dans le cadre du renforcement des capacités des producteurs sur les VGGT et du cadre et lignes directrices de 2014 à 2020.

Effectivement, les activités de renforcement des capacités mises en œuvre par le projet dans votre pays, la disponibilité de documents traduits liés au VGGT, les échanges entre plusieurs pays, etc. - ont permis de combler les lacunes en matière de capacités et ont conduit à des actions concrètes de plaidoyer, des réformes politiques et juridiques qui ont bénéficié aux détenteurs de droits de tenure, y compris les petits exploitants, les peuples autochtones et tribaux et d'autres personnes dans votre pays. En effet, il s’agit des activités de renforcement des capacités organisées dans et en prélude du processus de l’élaboration la politique foncière rurale. Les différents acteurs (organisation de la société civile, les autorités coutumières (chefs traditionnels, les autorités communales, les structures des organisations féminines et de jeune ont réussi des formations sur Directives Volontaires pour une gouvernance responsable des régimes fonciers. Ces activités de renforcement de capacités ont eu lieu en prélude du processus de l’élaboration de la politique foncière du Niger pour que les différents acteurs participent en connaissance de cause dans le dit processus. Aussi, tout au long du processus, les actions de renforcement des capacités ont eu lieu.

Dans un cadre spécifique de l’amélioration de la gouvernance des terres pastorales et celle de la mobilité transfrontalière dans l’espace CDEAO, le Niger est parvenu a adopté par décret le Comité National de Transhumance et les différents comités régionaux de transhumance. Ces comités ont vu aussi leur capacité renforcer grâce au guide en image élaboré sur la base de guide sur la gouvernance des terres pastorales et les Directives Volontaires pour une gouvernance de régimes. Ces outils leur permettront d’avoir une grille d’analyse de situation de gouvernances des ressources naturelles dans leurs zones respectives.

  • Elaboration des textes d’application sur le code foncier (Ordonnance portant modalités d’inventaire des terres domaniales, décret sur l’enregistrements des terres domaniales)
  • Elaboration des modules de formation
  • Animation des sessions de formation sur les mêmes modules (simulation)
  • Mise en pratique des acquis de la formation
  • Formation on the job, recyclage
  • Elaboration des guides/manuels pratiques
  • Les techniciens des services parties prenantes au projet maitrisent les logiciels et les utilisent même après le projet.

With the support of FAO, we organize training on VGGT, specifically:

- Online training: Organize training for delegates from state agencies by online form. The training content is divided into specific modules, students participate in the study and with the technical support of experts to discuss with the trainees the content related to the lesson.

- Face to face training: After finishing online training, we conduct face to face training activity. Delegates who meet the requirements of the online training phase will have the opportunity to participate in this phase. For 4 days in a row, we continue to discuss the issues raised in the online training phase. Also at this stage, in addition to continuing to discuss the aspects students are interested in during the online training period, we invite to train speakers from many different fields and regions such as business representatives, investor representatives, CSO representatives, INGO representatives with projects related to responsible land investment, and also representatives from the government sector. Delegates will hear plans and programs from the perspective of government agencies, as well as listen to sharing’s from businesses, investors and CSOs.

- Support to implement an action plan: After finishing 4 days of face-to-face training, participants will complete the action plan on the plan to apply VGGT to their own work. We support delegates so that delegates can execute this action plan. Initially, the participants shared all the contents of the VGGT program that they were able to participate in, then many participants integrated the contents of the VGGT they learned into the process. provide professional advice to the agency in the process of revising and designing a number of relevant policies.

I have discussed is issue before in a FAO seminar on VGGT in Vietnam, and I also had an exchange with Dr. SiuSue Mark, FAO's Land Tenure Consultant:
- Basically, each country has its own policy on economic form and development strategy, which cannot be rigidly structured within the framework of legal institutions and regulations. So there is no universal formula for all.
The VGGT guidelines are intended as a reference point and each country's policies will follow these criteria and adaot them to the specific conditions of their country. For example, in the Law on Promulgation of Legal Documents of Vietnam (2015), there is a provision on assessing the impact of to-be-enacted policies on the affected subjects. This is something that wasn't there before.
- In the VGGT guidelines, investment in agriculture involves many stakeholders. But in Vietnam, only the Government, investors and farmers are involved, without any role of NGOs. According to the order of law, the Government recovers land and allocates or leases it, while the investor compensates for farmers whose land is recovered and executes the project (different from VGGT in which the investment is private through civil agreements).
In VGGT there are also community elements. These components are not included in the Vietnamese state regulations regarding investment in agriculture and land accumulation. Vietnamese law stipulates that political and socio-political organizations assist the Government in law enforcement
and supervision. In remote and disadvantaged areas, village chiefs and village elders have an important voice, but they can only help the government mobilize people to support the state's regulations and policies and also through them, the government understands more about the thoughts and aspirations of the people.
- An important point in the implementation of VGGT is land ownership. In the VGGT guidelines, it is understood that land is privately owned but it is not the case in Vietnam, so there are many parts that cannot be considered or applied. We understand that each ownership model has its own advantages and disadvantages. With private ownership of land, it is all about parity exchange and purchase and sale is an agreement, the parties are equal in civil transactions. When land is collectively owned by people like in Vietnam, land users don’t have full ownership of the land. Through the power given to them by the people, the state exercises the right to recover land, establish land prices, make master plans and regulate land prices to achieve socio-economic development, so that our people are wealthy, our country strong, and our society just and civilized.
- The objective of the VGGT is to provide guidance on the governance of agricultural land use rights with the goal of achieving national food security, fulfilling people’s basic right to have adequate food. Now that Vietnam is among the biggest rice exporters in the world, national food security is no longer an urgent matter of concern at the moment.
- Vietnam's legal provisions on land rights and obligations are very clear and transparent. They are accessible to the public and are even printed and published in other languages. The rights and interests of individual and organizational land users are the responsibility of the State, including to promote gender equality and ensure access to land for all. The procedures for processing people's requests for land are clear and coherent, with a definite timeline and settlement results. Some procedures can even be handled online via the internet.
- In the VGGT, resettlement and enforcement are mentioned, and it is recommended that this issue should not lead to the loss of residential land or human rights violations. In Vietnam, the implementation of agricultural policies does not result in many cases where residential land is lost. However, as mentioned, because there is no equal transaction like buying and selling private land ownership rights, there will not be an agreement and compensation that is totally satisfactory. Due to this inadequacy, objections and coercion are inevitable. The enforcement of administrative decisions is undesirable, both on the coercive and coerced sides.
- Responsible land management is a new term mentioned in the VGGT, under which the following issues are controlled: (1) Abuse of power; (2) Wrongful resettlement; (3) Land conflicts, and (4) Corruption. These issues are always strictly controlled by the Government of Vietnam through many legal regulations.

Yes, the VGGT workshop and learning programme has been successfully organized and addressed capacity gaps for individuals and organizations, especially government authorities in the VGGT application for more responsible land tenure governance. The project has made policy recommendations to address tenure-related barriers in the 2013 Land Law and existing legal frameworks, improve responsible governance of tenure, and protect tenure rights holders including smallholders, indigenous and tribal peoples and others. Policy advocacy activities were implemented through four local workshops, two regional workshops, a leaflet and one video clip to popularize project findings and mainstream the VGGT principles and good practices in the revision of the Vietnamese Land Law 2013 on agricultural land accumulation and acquisition for more responsible land tenure governance.

Thanks to those who provided their on thoughts on the capacity building aspects of the VGGT project.  We heard about several interesting activities, including:

  1. The blended learning program for government officials in Vietnam on responsible land-based investment.
  2. Translation of the VGGTs into local languages in Namibia to make them accessible to a wider range of people.
  3. Working with key stakeholders in Malawi to help to improve customary land management.
  4. Building awareness among land holders in Colombia of the benefits of formalizing their rights.
  5. A wide range of capacity building activities on land governance involving a consortium of CSOs in Niger.

Please continue to share examples of capacity building elements of the project.

Thanks,
Darryl

Organizational and individual capacities of land service providing government institutions at federal, Darfur states and project targeted localities were assessed. Some of the preliminary findings indicated limited organizational linkages between federal and state institutions; budgetary allocations focused on staff salaries and operational costs of State Ministries. organizational and individual capacities at all levels of government structures that would have improved land service delivery was not a priority. Thus, competent human resources that could have spearhead desired changes in land service provision were scanty. The assessment recommended targeted capacity building that enhances required skills at all levels and coordination mechanism that links institutional mandates, budgetary focus and improvement in land related services such as land registration, transfer of entitlements, arbitration of disputes, access to information and many others.

In response to these recommendations, the project executed three-phases of blended learning program for key stakeholders from state institutions, native administration and community representatives including women and youth groups. Selected VGGT e-learning materials on; a) introduction to responsible governance of tenure concepts, principles and tools; b) addressing disputes and conflicts over tenure of natural resources and d) how to monitor and promote policy challenges on governance of tenure; e) Free Prior and Informed consent (FPIC); f) corruption on land administration; and g) gaps in Sudanese land laws were translated into Arabic and used for building the capacities of stakeholders. capacities of over 90 members of state technical teams (STTs) of which 92% male and 8% female and 100,000 community (79% Male and 21% Female) were enhanced in Darfur Region. 

VGGT technical guidelines and e-learning courses were shared electronically, in flash disks and hard copies to stakeholders at federal, Darfur states and twenty targeted localities and five return sites. electronically learning resources materials and guidelines that cover diverse aspect of responsible governance of tenure to project stakeholders. Pertinent policy issues were identified, discussed at STTs meetings, individual line departments and states ministries; and the outcomes of policy discussions presented to media outlets (national TV channels and FM radios) for dissemination. Each state formed WhatsApp social platforms to discuss project issues and share knowledge on responsible governance of tenure of land. 

Project staff, focal person from ministry of Agriculture and general secretary of Darfur Land commission participated capitalization meetings aimed at multi-country experience sharing. While State level technical teams benefited from inter-state learning exchange visits. These approaches enhanced the knowledge and capacity of stakeholders to practically use lessons gained from project capacity building modules and solved an average of 25 land tenure related disputes in their respective states. STT members also understood community concerns and grievances on land use, land tenure rights and governance of tenure.

It is now time to open up comments on question 3. Here it is:

 
How has the project addressed gender equality in your country? Specifically, how has the application of the VGGT helped to achieve improved gender equality in access to, allocation of and strengthening the tenure rights of women?
 

Gender equality is at the heart of the VGGTs. Please share your experiences with us!

The experience from the EU Land Governance Programme indicates that we need to do more to promote gender equality. Women representation at local, community and sometimes at the national level is still low. Land issues are still dominated by men as they are seen as falling in the patriarchal domain. Specific interventions such are fixing meeting times to suit women, specifying that a specified number of women should be included in invitees to meetings, organizing separate meetings for women, and ensuring women are included in land management committees are needed to improve women's participation. Specific capacity development exercises targeting women would also increase the confidence of women to deal with land issues.

A lot still needs to be done in terms of Gender equality in the country due to the fact that women and are still not getting the opportunity to when it come to the allocation of land registration of customary land rights.in strengthening the tenure rights of women.  Customary Tenure rights is always registered in the name of the husband/man only. The traditional authority only has the provision for only one name registered in customary land register which is only the man.

It is clear that attempting to further gender equality in relation to land played an important role in the project activities in many countries. Here are a few takeaways from the contributions on question 3:

  • There is a still a lot more to be done!
  • Many countries have formal laws that promote or require gender equality but the reality on the ground is often different. This is especially so in the case of customary land where men still tend to dominate. One potentially effective strategy in this regard is to promote dialogue between women and traditional leaders. Forming groups of women leaders can also be productive.
  • Each country is unique in this regard and thus needs its own long-term strategy tailored to its circumstances.
  • The VGGT can help to ensure that new land laws lead to more gender equality in relation to land.
  • There are many good resources on this subject that can help guide efforts to further gender equality. One example is the FAO Technical Guide "Governing Land for Women and Men."
  • Most, but not all projects had a specific gender focus.

Please let me know if you disagree or think I missed an important point.

Thanks,
Darryl

Though there is no direct influence on the enacted laws/policies, the project has tried to reflect gender equality principles (from the Law on Gender Equality and relevant international instruments including CEDAW) in land tenure governance. The project products have well reflected gender-equality principle in VGGT guidelines and that in local legislation (2013 Constitution Art. 26, 2013 Land Law Art. 98, 2014 Law on Marriage and Family Art. 29-33-34-59-66, etc.

In the project activities, women’s participation has been prioritized to reflect their needs and perspectives on land tenure.

The project through the Centre for Environment and Development (CED) has worked for gender equality in Cameroon by organizing these activities:

Workshop (dialogue) organized between women and traditional chiefs where some traditional chiefs expressed their interest in setting up a mechanism to improve women's control and access to land and to secure their spaces;

 

Capacity building of women who were able to engage in discussions with their respective village chiefs in order to be involved in the compensation process;

 

Realization of two studies on women's customary land rights and on the consideration of women in land and forestry laws and proposals for better involvement;

 

Training workshop for women leaders, or “champions” on leadership and effective participation in local land management.

En nuestro país en este momento no existe distinción de genero a la hora de formalización de tierra, todos los ciudadanos colombianos tienen los mismos derechos sea hombre o mujer. No existe un limite de acceso a tierra para ningún genero. Todo tienen los mismos derechos.

La question de l’égalité des sexes est abordé dans le processus de renforcement des capacités et que les droits de femme par exemple puisse véritablement prix en compte conformément aux lois. Dans la formulation de la politique fonciere rurale,  des mesures sont prevues pour promouvoir l’acces equitable des femmes et des jeunes à la terres dans des perimetres irrigués qui seront realisés. En termes de securisation fonciere, des mesures specifiques sont prevues pour securiser les droits d’accés des femmes à la terre.

The IGAD Land Governance Program has supported all the seven Member States – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda to develop their National Women’s Land rights Agenda. IGAD has also developed its Regional Women’s Land rights Agenda, endorsed by the Ministries responsible for Lands and the Ministries Responsible for Gender from its Member States. The foundations of this work lie in the VGGTs and the application of FAO’s Legal Assessment Tool to undertake diagnostic studies for each country and draw strategies for concrete gender transformative interventions over a ten-year period 2021 – 2030. IGAD together with its Member States is now developing gender indicators for measuring progress in implementing the Regional Women’s Land Rights Agenda.

This  is a great example of the wider applicability and influence of the VGGTs, and how they can be built on both regionally and nationally to strengthen land rights  for women where they are not yet on parity with those of men.  In addition to using the excellent Legal Assessment Tool, I am curious to know the extent you have  drawn on the Technical Guide on Gender and the VGGTS ('Governing Land for Women and Men') - both the guide and e-learning resources around that? As well as other FAO Technical Guides on different focus areas but which all address gender issues  to some extent.

 

Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth. I agree it would be interesting to hear from Esther whether and how they used some of those resource. Esther, can you elaborate?

The Technical Guide Governing Land for Men and Women gave lots of case studies of what worked and why. At IGAD, we have used the experiences shared in the technical guide to developing a series of land administration tools to guide land reforms in the Region. Our focus is mainly to work toward systemic change in the way Governments deliver land services to the communities. The products that we have now developed for national application by our Member States and that will be soon uploaded on the IGAD Land Governance Portal are

1. The Gender Handbook for Land Administrators - This seeks to give practical steps on how to mainstream gender into the various aspects of land administration such as surveys, valuation, physical planning and land registration. We believe that if applied, we will start to see an increase in rights to land documented in the names of Women.

2. A model Gender Responsive National Land Policy - This we are already using in South Sudan and Djibouti, supporting the National Land Policy and Land Sector Strategic Plan Development Process. We believe that the laws thereafter will be gender-responsive and that gender-transformative approaches to implementing land programs will be adopted by the IGAD Member States.

3. A Gender Responsive Alternative Dispute Resolution Manual - This is already being translated into the Somali language and will be used at scale in the IGAD cross border areas of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia in support of pastoralist communities' rights to land.

4. A Manual for mainstreaming gender in Land Reform Processes - This is a how-to guide with a set of practical tools that our Member states can use for the various processes they will undergo.

Our approach to developing regional gender responsive tools for land administration is to support our Member States move toward convergence with the common understanding that our population is composed of 50% women. As such, we program for both men and women.

The IGAD Land Governance Program is open to continuous learning and we believe our growth is attributed to learning from what has worked and taking that, localizing it to our needs and scaling it up. FAO has provided us with that platform to learn with a wide repository of knowledge to draw from.

Thank you for the elaborate response to the question.  How are the products that you have developed so far taking on board the regional frameworks (eg. African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G))  on gender-equitable access to and ownership of land and other productive natural resources?

Thanks Esther for the elaboration on the use of the existing FAO-developed VGGTs resources and how you have developed the tailored documents for use in IGAD Members States, with the practical focus and attention to translating into local languages. This is all good to see and shows how the VGGTs have become an important springboard for improved land governance in so many different ways, rather than a one size fits all.

The project has addressed gender equality specifically by ensuring that gender issues are incorporated in the new land laws. In Malawi we follow two types of marriages namely patrineal and matrineal. Under patrineal women were not allowed to inherit land belonging to their husband side while in matrineal men were not allowed to inherit land from their wife side. This has been dealt with in the customary land act through some provisions which are allowing families to register land jointly so that when one dies the other can still have access and control over the registered land.

During the dissemination of voluntary guidelines to key stakeholders including members of the community, issues of gender equity and equality were carefully tackled. Carefully because in some communities, gender equity and equality advocacy is still some taboo, and requires a well-thought-of and tactful approach. By carefully tackling gender balance issues along other VGGT provisions and advocacy of other instruments, it was easier for some communities and audiences to embrace gender equality aspects, especially when it was linked to what new land laws say, and NOT the Ministry of Lands officials or FAO facilitators.

Therefore, the linking of VGGT to provisions of the new Customary Land law helped in addressing gender inequality issues, especially when it comes to land registration. Gender inequality was also addressed through the establishment of land dispute safeguards like the Customary Land Tribunals, where a good women representation is supported by the law, just like the VGGT.

And also, by making specific provisions that protect women from arbitrary land dispossession, the project helped in addressing gender inequality in the country.

Improved gender equality was thus achieved by the VGGT with the backing of the laws in force, which advocate for gender-balance from the Customary Land Committees level, where a 50-50 representation of men and women is mandatory. Thus, with women forming at least 50% of the CLC, their tenure rights are guaranteed. Evidence is the more women who attained secure land tenure through registration, and many families opted for joint registration of their land parcels during the piloting of new land laws, which is a plus to gender equality.

L’application des VGGT a suscité une égalité des sexes tant au niveau des hommes qu’au  niveau des femmes ce qui a abouti aux résultats suivants.

Le dynamisme du consortium de la société civile a favorisé la création d’un groupe de leaders féminines au Niger qui porte le nom d »initiative femmes pour l’accès à la terre ». Cette initiative est née pendant le processus participatif et a apporté une forte contribution dans la mobilisation de plusieurs groupes d’acteurs tels que la participation des honorables députés femmes à des séminaires organisés par cette initiative. Il faut dire que j’ai participé personnellement à l’élaboration des  VGGT pendant son processus à Rome en tant que déléguée de la Via Campésina ; en tant que membre du comité national de préparation de la politique foncière du Niger j’ai trouvé que les femmes sont sous représentées au sein du comité, pour recueillir l’avis des femmes sur un large éventail j’ai crée le groupe initiative femmes pour le foncier rural où à chaque étape de l’élaboration du document je réuni le groupe pour leur présenter le document et recueillir leurs avis que je fais intégrer dans le document pendant les séances plénières

 

Le conseil des ministres en date du 09 septembre 2021 a adopté le projet de décret portant adoption du document de la politique foncière rurale du Niger PFRN et son plan d’action

Dans ce document de PFRN les acquis pour les femmes rurales sont les suivants :

  • Octroi aux femmes, aux jeunes et aux handicapés d’un minimum de 30% des parcelles aménagées par l’État et les collectivités territoriales
  • Encourager la délivrance des actes au bénéfice des femmes, des jeunes et des personnes en situation de handicap ainsi que des actes de sécurisation foncière commune aux conjoints ;
  • Assouplissement des conditions de paiement des frais de délivrance des actes du Code Rural pour les femmes, les jeunes et les personnes en situation de handicap (payement par échéances) ;
  • Exigence du consentement du conjoint / de la conjointe pour les transferts fonciers définitifs en cas de copropriété entre conjoints ;
  • Encouragement du recrutement ou de la désignation des femmes dans les organismes de gestion et d’administrations foncières, avec notamment un objectif de 20% de femmes dans les Commissions foncières, et de leur positionnement aux différents postes stratégiques ;
  • Sensibilisation des communautés sur les textes relatifs à l’accès sécurisé des femmes, des jeunes et des personnes en situation de handicap au foncier.

Ces mesures ont été retenues de haute lutte du groupe initiative femmes pour le foncier rural afin de permettre aux femmes d’exploiter des terres aménagées sur fonds publics et de se faire délivrer des actes de sécurisation avec des modalités adaptées de paiement des frais.

Namibia is one of the countries that are considered to self-starters on implementation of VGGT. Namibia legislation and land allocation procedures take into consideration gender equality in access to and ownership of land.  The project, served to emphasize this VGGT principle during the training of Parliamentarians.

Sudanese rural societies are generally less considerate to gender equality and equity. However, Darfur communities are relatively open to gender discussion as compared to communities in eastern Sudan. The project adopted quota system of representation in every activity implemented and advocated for women tenure rights through community awareness, trainings and equitable participation in discussion forums. Women were included in coordination structure, committees and discussion platforms. 

Using VGGT principles; the project contributed to the formulation of country level women’s land rights agenda for Sudan and developed action plan and agenda in collaboration with Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD). Moreover, the project advocated for equitable gender rights. 

The project enforced expression of joint consent by husband and wife/wives when declaring intent to register agricultural lands.

Not country specific but I would like to highlight the continued influence of the VGGT within certain land sectors. The VGGTs has continued to act as a northstar for many of us involved in land valuation, unregistered land value and tenure security, and compulsory purchase. the VGGTs are heavily referenced (especially sections 16, 17, 18) within the new UN GLTN Valuation of Unregistered Land–A Practice Manual – Global Land Tool Network (gltn.net). This operational manual is directly connected to IVSC and RICS valuation standards so bringing the VGGTs to a new influential audience in the financial and investment sectors.  The VGGT ethos of social justice connected to land security is deeply embedded within numerous professional sectors - I would encourage nations to make sure their land professionals & institutions (surveyors, planners, valuers etc) are adhering to international standards such as the manual that not only contain the VGGTs but also help operationalise them for use in practice.

Según información presentada por La FAO, en este programa puedo aportar los siguientes datos:
En la formalización de 390 predios baldíos en Montes de María,2018 por la Agencia Nacional de Tierras (ANT), el 54% de estos fueron adjudicados a mujeres.
5.865 mujeres de beneficiaron de los programas de acceso y formalización de tierras.
2.320 mujeres formalizaron su predio y obtuvieron titulación.
162 mujeres accedieron a la tierra a través de programas de subsidios integrales y se establecieron líneas de crédito con acciones afirmativas para mujeres con relación a la compra de tierras.
De las 32.809 iniciativas PATR, de las 16 subregiones y 170 municipios, solo el 3.6% se refieren a temas de mujeres y genero (1.169).
Dos programas: Coseche que apunta a la inclusión financiera y El Campo Emprende, que financia emprendimientos rurales y cuentan con líneas especiales para mujeres. De 7.467 personas 4.301 son mujeres para un 57.6%.

  • Le projet a commandité au début une étude sur l’intégration de la dimension genre dans le projet
  • Les recommandations dégagées ont été prises en compte dans la composition des commissions d’identification et de délimitation (CID), tout comme dans les équipes d’enquête foncière (EF), et de bornage et mesurage(BM) tout comme pour les commissions de reconnaissance collinaires(CRC)
  • Sur base des données collectées dans le pays sur le nombre d’attributions des terres domaniales, il a été constaté que les femmes demandeurs de terrains sont peu nombreuses, un message de sensibilisation des femmes pour formuler des demandes de terres a été diffusé.
  • Prise en compte de l’égalité de sexe dans la collecte des indicateurs d’activités (nombre H et F).

The issue of gender equality is considered and evaluated in every country. So far, it is an important indicator used to evaluate and rank countries in the world. In Vietnam, we have a saying that "when the invaders barge in, even women fight" which shows that in war or in peace, women and men share the same responsibilities. VGGT only helps Vietnam develop regulations and policies that are more compliant with international standards.

According to the World Bank Group's 2020 summary report, the World Economic Forum ranked gender equality in Vietnam 87th out of 153 countries surveyed in the world in terms of narrowing the gender gap, with women's average annual income being 3 million VND less than that of men. Only 31.3% of entrepreneurs in Vietnam are female, while the proportion of men holding senior management positions is still high at 77.6%.

However, this number does not necessarily mean inequality. Women can choose to spend more time with their families while still being supporters or even supervisors of men.

The participants in the training were very aware of the role of gender equality and actively developed their agency's action plan to promote women's participation and ensure more gender equality. Women are more involved in the process of discussing and commenting on related policies.

The project’s activities including training courses, national and local workshops, field surveys have involved many female participants (accounting for 50% of the total). There is a specific lesson on gender-equitable land tenure. Therefore, the participants, especially women have understood the importance of rights to land for women; and enhanced their knowledge of what tools can be used to promote women's access to land. The project has made policy recommendations for the revision of the 2013 Land Law to ensure equal access between men and women to land, including the removal of barriers in the processes and procedures to recognize women's land rights.

Today we open up the discussion of question 4:

 
What were the innovative methodologies developed by the project that have advanced the equitable formalization and documentation of customary tenure rights, and indigenous and local communities'  rights in your country?
 

 

Respecting customary tenure and the tenure rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are at the core of the VGGT.  Tell us about your experiences!

Please continue to comment on questions 1-3 as we would love to hear from more of you on those important issues.

Question 4 focused on approaches to strengthen customary land rights. As with the first 3 questions, we received a variety of interesting contributions on this issue. Here are some that caught my eye:

  • Securing customary land rights is a big challenge in many countries.  One of the most important strategies is to engage in a participatory mapping process that seeks to ensure that all affected people can participate and try to agree on who has rights to which parcel of land. This is important in context of formalizing rights, as shown by the project in Colombia.
  • A big challenge can arise where there has been significant migration and conflict, such as in Darfur. To address this, they formed Verification Bodies to help reach consensus. This is another good example of the participatory approach.
  • Developing user friendly awareness-building and training materials can also be effective. In Malawi, they developed a training manual in the local language and created and distributed awareness building messages on posters and women's wraps.
  • As with other issues, multi-stakeholder dialogues can be effective.
  • Even where there is no concept of customary land (such as in Vietnam), the VGGT can help to ensure better recognition of the land rights of ethnic minorities.

I'm sure there is more to be said on this issue so I encourage project participants to add to what we have received thus far.

Thanks,
Darryl

The level of innovativeness is moderate. Vietnam is a country of diverse ethnic identities (54 groups), and the project has been implemented during a historic period when the first National Target Program on Ethnic Affairs (NTP-EA) was enacted for 2021-25 period. 

 

The project has tried to retrospectively evaluate the outcomes of instruments/ policies on EM’s access to land (2019 Resolution 22/NQ-TW, 2013 Land Law Art. 133, 2013 Decision 755/QD-TTg, 2016 Decision 2085/QĐ-TTg). Key shortcomings of the current policy framework were analyzed (e.g. fee mechanism for LURCs as a burden for EM households, long-term livelihoods support to avoid the sales of allocated land). Some good lessons were drawn but there is little evidence on how this has been taken up by law-makers.

Submission grants acceptance: As part of establishing an effective enabling environment in politically sensitive land right agenda, coordination structures whose members are decision makers in the government institutions were established through official directives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forest at federal (Khartoum) level. The coordination structure linked Project Advisory Committees (PAC) of 16 members with Darfur Region Technical Advisory Committees (TAC) of 12 members and Darfur state level States Technical Teams (STTs) of 12-13 members based on number of Native Administration in each state. Ministry of Agriculture and Forest nominated project focal person to link members of federal based committee to Darfur based TAC and STTs. 

Through a decree from Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forest (MoAF), terms of reference of each committee were clearly defined and the project became government owned project, thus, reducing sensitivity. 

Project targeted localities witnessed demographic changes due to mass-migration or displacement during the Darfur conflict. About 75% of the population in the targeted localities have experienced either displacement or temporary relocation within or other localities or states. As a result, some of the agricultural lands in Central, West, South and North Darfur localities are temporarily or permanently occupied by new tenants that are not recognized by Native administrations. This challenge called for amicable solution that identifies legitimate land tenure holders before starting registration. The project invented the idea of establishing inclusive community level Verification Bodies (VBs) of ten members (30% female) in each of the targeted localities for the first time. Members of VBs consists of community elders, native administration, community leaders, youth and women representatives with the role of reviewing, inspecting and establishing facts on whether the, processes, services and documents of land tenure right holder conform to criteria specified for the rightful holders entitled to register his/her agricultural land. The project also invented criteria for differentiating rightful land tenure holder from claimants. 

The project also initiated agriculture land registration group visits. Signatories of agricultural land registrations and surveyors undertake planned joint visits to rural communities that intend to formally secure land tenure rights. Through this approach 346 internally displaced households managed to formally secure their customary land tenure rights and return to their original villages.

LA metodología innovadora es hacer los procesos directamente de la mano o en compañía de las comunidades, a mi parecer nadie conoce mejor su tierra que las mismas comunidades, ellos saben su historia, ellos conocen quien son sus poseedores históricamente, incluso saben las delimitaciones de los territorios, hacerlos participes de todo este proceso ha sido fundamental, contribuyen a la formalización equitativa garantizando así que a cada quien se le adjudique lo que en realidad le corresponde.

Es correcto lo que comenta Juan Diego, la metodología colaborativa al interior de la Hoja de Ruta para la formalización y titulación de predios de Entidades de Derecho Público, permite que la comunidad, aporte con sus conocimientos locales sobre los predios, para agilizar el levantamiento de información, y en ultimas agilizar los tramites de formalización o titulación de bienes como la escuela rural, el acueducto veredal, la caseta de acción comunal, el centro de salud entre otros.

The project through the CED has tested participatory mapping approach as a tool for securing land rights of local and indigenous communities. 

It was used to understand traditional uses and the extent of traditional land through the mapping of the areas: 

that belong/have belonged to the natives or those on which they carry out their main activities; 

of activities and uses during the different seasons (dry and rainy season); 

of activities/uses of women; 

of activities and/or use shared with neighboring villages/campsites; 

where land investments are made in the village by the elites (plantations in particular), companies and the State

Support for the creation of chiefdoms is also being tested as a tool for securing land for indigenous people.

The innovative methodologies developed by the project that have advanced the equitable formalization and documentation of customary tenure rights, and Indigenous Peoples and Tribal peoples' rights in my country are; advocacy and lobbying, capacity building of relevant stakeholders, resource provision and this has led to a domestication of VGGT in our new land laws.

The VGGT project developed user-friendly training manuals which were used during orientation and training sessions for interest groups and stakeholders in districts where Government was testing new land laws, and other districts where FAO was implementing its gender programmes.  The innovation behind the training manuals was that they were developed and produced in a book illustration form, which made it easy for communities and other stakeholders to follow and understand the voluntary guidelines and gender elements 

The training manuals were also translated into Chichewa, which is the mostly used language of communication in Malawi. Adding to this innovation, the illustrator was a Malawian cartoonist whose indigenous characters were already familiar among the local audience and readership 

This helped women and their menfolk alike to apply the messages advocated through the innovations during customary land registration, thereby enhancing secure land tenure among women and their children 

Similar to the training manuals, the project developed user-friendly posters in various lead languages including Tumbuka and Yao, which are used largely in the northern and eastern parts of Malawi respectively 

Perhaps, what pulled women most to get attracted to the VGGT activities and advocacy were the clothing wrappers, popularly known as Chitenje in the local language which was developed under the project, and were distributed to some fols in the districts. The branded Chitenje  innovation always has a good impact in rural areas where women put on wrappers during almost all social gatherings in strategic convergences. The messaging on the innovations formalized issues of gender equality and women’s land rights as the public positively responded during land registration activities positively. The disadvantage with this innovation was that the funds were very limited for mass production and dissemination. Only a lucky few women accessed the innovations!

La formation du comité multi acteurs d’organisation du document de la politique foncière, la responsabilisation  de la société civile, l’implication de tous les acteurs concernés par le foncier du niveau national au niveau villages et tribus ont été un processus de consensus remarquablement participatif et inclusif avec une forte implication de tous les acteurs du Niger ( avec référence aux VGGT)

Chère Fatimatou, merci infiniment pour votre contribution à ce sujet. Pouvez-vous nous raconter comment la récente politique foncière du Niger peut aider tous les acteurs, en particulier les femmes, à obtenir de meilleurs droits fonciers ? Et pouvez-vous nous expliquer l'impact des Directives Volontaires (DV) pour ces mêmes acteurs ?  Bien cordialement, James

Chère Fatimatou, pouvez-vous nous raconter aussi l'effet de la politique foncière du Niger sur la tranhumance ?  Je vous remerci en avance, James

 

Identification et délimitation des terres faite de manière publique, et contradictoire, même chose pour l’enquête foncière, le bornage et mesurage.

 

Implication des communautés à la colline à travers la commission de reconnaissance collinaire (CRC)

Implication des services techniques dans le travail de l’inventaire des terres domaniales (agriculture, forêts, urbanisme, élevage)

Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups living together in equality, solidarity and mutual assistance. Vietnamese law prohibits all acts of ethnic discrimination and segregation. In Vietnam, there is no concept of indigenous people or tribes. In education programs, there is a section dedicated to the use of languages and scripts of ethnic minorities.

 

On national television and radio programs, there are also programs dedicated to ethnic groups. With undergraduate and postgraduate training, Vietnam always has preferential and encouraging policies for students from ethnic minorities.

In reality, due to their living habits, educational level, ability to receive information, and especially geographical conditions, there is still a gap in the level of cultural enjoyment between regions. Some vexing problems faced by ethnic minorities such as free migration, lack of residential and production land, or water shortage have not been effectively resolved, but the Government of Vietnam has been very active in solving them.

In Vietnam, there is no concept of indigenous people, only the concept of ethnic minorities. In addition, in the field of land, in Vietnam, there is no concept of customary land tenure. However, after participating in the training program on VGGT, the delegates all affirmed that it is possible to apply the VGGT principle on land use rights according to customs and traditions, especially for people. minorities, and uphold the principle of FPIC. This is a very good thing, especially in the context that in 2022, Vietnam will amend and supplement the 2013 Land Law. 

The project fostered multi-stakeholder dialogue, where policymakers, government officials, academia, NGO, CSO community and other relevant stakeholders participate, share their perspectives and influence the revision of the 2013 Land Law in a manner that is consistent with the principles of the VGGT to address tenure issues in Viet Nam, including the recognition of customary tenure rights, and Indigenous Peoples and Tribal peoples' rights.

Hello,

Today we open up question 5:

 
Question 5: Has this tenure governance project had an impact on national food security and nutrition? If so, how? What could the project have done better in this regard?
 

 

Improving food security is a core objective of the VGGT. So, please tell us what you think!

Thanks,

Darryl

Many of the project designs of the EU Land Governance Project did not directly link improved tenure security to food security. It is one area that we still have scant data to establish the linkage. The linkage is done anecdotally, theorising that people with secured tenure are likely to invest in responsible land management and land use practices and this will lead to improved productivity and food security. Future projects should be designed to include the linkage so that the appropriate data can be collected to support the theory. However, there is enough evidence to support the view that the projects have improved tenure security considerably. They have also highlighted the nexus between improved tenure security and overall economic development.

Dear Odame,

I fully agree that future projects should be designed to better monitor impacts on food security. We have seen in some contexts the positive effect of tenure security on food security but it would be helpful to gather more data to better establish the causal link.

Darryl

Dear Odame and Darryl,

You made an interesting observation here! I would see that the link between tenure and food security can be straightforward and measurable at the household level but more complicated at the national one. At the household level, there is a direct link, for instance, in the case of people dependent of ‘traditional’ livelihoods and subsistence farmers. For them, a secure access to land and natural resources as well as the availability of these resources are vital. For instance in Northern Finland, many households complement their diets and revenues by fishing and hunting as well as by mushroom and berry picking on state land. If the access to these resources is endangered and if these resources become scarce, it has a direct impact on the nutrition, food security and economy of the households. This impact could be measured at the household level for instance through small surveys.

Best wishes,

Anni

It is difficult to provide an ultimate response to this as it requires adequate data on whether the national food security and nutrition situation can be attributed to VGGT project results. So far, no formal research has been conducted in this regard. However, cases of land-grabbing from widows and other vulnerable groups of the society like under-aged children have been reduced as a result of traditional Cheifs’ domestication of the Right to Food principles in their decision-making on land-related cases. The chiefs are now also able to relate the legal dimension of the Right to Food which has a direct bearing on land tenure security.  

Another school of thought is that the project was only concentrating in pockets of areas piloting new land laws and where FAO already had its running programmes, and not the whole region, let alone district. Much more, the food availability situation in those districts had perennial variances in response to a particular season in the farming year. VGGT activities were not seasonal, and certainly not corresponding to the farming season and agricultural activities 

The project could have been national and reach out to more people and districts through a more systematic outreach campaign. The VGGT project lacked massive awareness drive to incorporate districts outside the pilots and FAO catchment areas in the goals of the same. A continuous awareness drive and public engagement efforts could help impact on national food security as women from all over could benefit from the ripple effects of voluntary guidelines from the pilot areas.

The change of tenure which is not only a challenge in Namibia but it is a global challenge throughout the world.  This is caused by the migration of people from rural to urban areas which leads to the expansion of commercial pressure, expansion of infrastructures on urban land, extractive activities, and climate change.

There is a need for FAO to discourage the migration by introducing projects in each constituency and providing more water to enable the community to come up with projects like piggery, poultry and horticulture and other projects like hydroponic fodder.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the biggest takeaway from responses to question 5 is that most projects did not expressly focus on improving food security. We all know that the VGGTs emphasize the positive impact better land governance can have on food security but it seems that it is too soon to know if that happened as a result of any of the activities carried out in the project.

I fully agree that we need to gather a lot more evidence to establish a direct link between tenure security and food security. We all think it is there and there is much anecdotal evidence to support that. But this could be a focus of follow-on efforts.

In Uganda, evidence suggested that more secure tenure led to increased investment in income-generating crops, such as coffee and bananas. But did this help or hurt food security? Too soon to tell. Similarly, the responsible investment learning program in Vietnam taught that such investments should lead to more food security or, at least, not cause increased insecurity. Let's do a follow-up study to see what actually happens.

What do you think?

Thanks,
Darryl

 

There is little data/info available on how the project has had a direct impact on food security and nutrition. However, IPSARD (implementing partner of the project) is also the main think-tank that advised the Government in reviewing the strategies on food security. The latest instrument (Resolution 34/NQ-CP dated 25 March 2021 by the Government on Food Security by 2030) stressed the importance of sustainable use of land resources and reduced the total area of land allotments earmarked for rice farming compared to the previous 10-year period, and stressed the need to improve land policies to support farmers (Section III.6).

Yes, this project has enhanced the capacities of government authorities by providing them with guidance to create an enabling environment for responsible investments in agriculture. When doing responsibly, such investments would enhance land-use efficiency, improve productivity and income, while maintaining equitable access to land for small-scale farmers, especially for vulnerable groups, and thereby contribute to achieving sustainable agricultural development, national food security, and nutrition. 

It would be better to have more effort in term of capacity building for smallholder farmers   and enterprises who are key stakeholders in investment activities in agriculture.

Impact on national food security can only be achieved through a long-term project that covers the entire country. The project under discussion on focused only in 32% (20 localities) of Darfur localities. However, through agriculture land registration, some members of communities in Darfur enabled  have access to financial institutions for getting agricultural investment loans and machinery. The project also supported communities’ groups, women associations and youth with small irrigation pumps, oil pressing machines powered by engine generators; grinding mill machine units of knapsack sprayers that encouraged productivity, omitted transportation costs of agriculture produce to localities for the services and reduced farmers expenses in accessing the services.

La hoja de ruta que hoy nos deja este proyecto, muy seguramente nos ha servido y nos va a servir para la formalización de predios que son y serán utilizados para garantizar la seguridad alimentaria en las comunidades, es una hoja de ruta que maraca el camino a seguir para la formalización de predios que deben ser utilización para la formación y ejecución de proyectos que causen un gran impacto en las comunidades, indudablemente la seguridad alimentaria no esta fuera de este rango o de este inventario de proyectos con los que se busca satisfacer las necesidades de las comunidades.

We cannot already talk about impact.

Many local organizations working to achieve food security, especially in the far north region, which has one of the highest rates of food insecurity and malnutrition of the country, barely linked their efforts to land issues. The project, through the Network for the fight against Hunger (RELUFA), has been able to raise the attention on the necessity to take into account land issues in order to be more effective on actions undertaken for food security, livelihoods development and climate change adaptation. For this purpose, RELUFA is currently developing a tool which will help to integrate land issues from the design of development projects targeting food security and climate change adaptation.

Sandrine, your honest acknowledgement that it's too early to talk already about impact brings up the very key issue across the board for all efforts to achieve improvements in land governance through implementation of the VGGTS. Change will always take a longer term as it needs attitudes and values around land to  change too. And it has to be very ground-up, fully supported by the communities. This is because land is a very symbolic resource that many people hold dear in their hearts. Aspects of improved land governance such as gender-equitable participation in all decision-making about land can sometimes challenge long-held beliefs about gender roles and responsibilities. And this  needs to be considered when we are looking at using the  VGGTS  to strengthen food security and climate change adaptation too - there  can be no  quick fixes.

La mise en œuvre du plan d’action de la politique foncière n’a pas encore démarrée mais nous avons un plan d’action très ambitieux dont la mise en œuvre va démarrer avant décembre 2021 avec l’appui des partenaires bien sure.

La politique  foncière au Niger est une réponse aux préoccupations foncières majeures du pays, elle sert à l’atteinte de l’objectif faim zéro, la sécurité alimentaire, de la souveraineté alimentaire ainsi que le developpement agricole durable.

Le projet n’a pas pu avoir un impact sur la sécurité alimentaire puisque les attributions des terres n’étaient pas encore réalisées, on devrait attendre l’enregistrement avant l’attribution (le code foncier précise que l’attribution d’une terre domaniale non enregistrée est nulle).

The content of food security has not been clearly mentioned in this program. If possible, FAO could implement a program related to VGGT and its impact on food security, to get more tangible results.

The Responsible Land Policy in Uganda (RELAPU) project has since 2016/2017  improved the relationship between landlord and tenants through tenure rights inventorization, conflict mediation and awareness raising. It has additionally supported the registration of customary land rights in Teso and recently in Lango region as well.

It has provided a steppingstone for the implementation of the recommendations of the Uganda National land policy (NLP. 2013) regarding solving the impasse over Mailo tenure; where occupancy/use rights are recognised over registered proprietorship, through the Issuance of Land Inventory Protocols (LIPs) which provides critical information to support either Land sharing, Buy out, Lease and Certificates of Occupancy.

·         84,176 occupancy parcels/land use rights have been mapped (as of September 2021)

·         12,360 customary ownership rights mapped (as of September 2021)

It has developed the capacity of the land administration structures from national to the Lower-level structures like Area Land committees (ALC) and District Land Boards (DLBs) to enhance their abilities to perform their functions like Certificate of Occupancy (COO) processing

The project has significantly reduced the occurrence of land disputes in the sub-counties that the project has operated. Alternative dispute resolution committees were set up at sub county level to resolve disputes using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms other than litigation.

·          3,043 cases - Conflicts recorded • 2,115- Resolved cases (mailo tenure; as of September 2021)

·         398 cases - Conflicts recorded • 339- Resolved cases (customary tenure; as of September 2021)

The project has facilitated and created a process for issuing the first ever certificates of occupancy on Mailo in partnership with the Ministry of lands, Housing and Urban Development. This comes after 121 existence of mailo tenure and more than 20 years of the current legal framework regulating the landlord-occupant relationship.

The project through the ALC issues   a social document (LIP) that informs financial institutions when accessing credit worthiness for the tenants/farmers.

RELAPU has supported compliance of domestic investors with complaince to national as well as international guidelines on Responsible Agricultural Investments. This category of investors is often outside the scope of investors directly supported or monitored by government entities such as the Uganda Investment Authority or Ministry of Trade, Industries and Cooperatives.

RELAPU could have put more efforts in identifying the registered cadastral coverage and names of the Mailo landowners whose tenants have been mapped under the ILGU project through activities like rectification of the cadastral records based on recognised ground controls and register searches at the ministry zonal offices .

There has also been demand from the communities and technical leadership to consider the issue of Issuing COOs for those tenants that have received a LIP and landowners have consented to the issuance of COO.

Planning for the project exit strategy right from the start of the project to ensure/ease project sustainability.

Targeted awareness raising specific for vulnerable groups through women and youth FGDs concerning their land rights in addition to general community and leaders’ sensitization.

Use of Fit for Purpose (FFP) approaches and FFP technologies (with a continuum of accuracies) on customary as well as mailo tenure to document land rights as a basis for issuance of the certificates of customary ownership (CCOs) and certificates of occupancy (CoOs). On mailo tenure, the FFP technologies enable the establishment of the actual registered interest with whom negotiations have to be held to further tenure securization through juxta positioning (in QGIS) use and ownership rights.

The alternative dispute resolution mechanisms using locally based structures; relying on a combination of opinion leaders, local authorities, CSO partners and traditional authorities that have mediated land disputes has proven to be effective as an alternative to time-consuming and costly formal judicial processes.

The use of CRISP (land rights data collection tool) and incorporating aspects of physical planning and wetlands protection particularly on customary land in the Northeastern region has been achieved by the project something that has only been done by RELAPU.

The whole procedure of inventorization of land rights on private Mailo something that no partner; not even government dared to do prior to 2017, has been achieved by RELAPU. A social document is an important first step that has bridged the gap between informality of legitimate tenure rights and formal registered interest for customary and more so for occupants on mailo tenure .

While ‘’FPIC’’ and ‘’do not harm’’ result into an initially less systematic approach, the gradually increasing systematic approach improves accuracy of documentation as well as reduces the average cost per parcel.

The display of results of parcel mapping for community validation prior to land tenure documents issuance strengthens community participation and ownership aside from the offering an opportunity for community members to contribute to quality control of the data collected.

Multistakeholder dialogues have been utilised as a avenue to share experiences, challenges and good practices amongst project partners as well as forums to share challenges with the line ministry with respect to land governance bottlenecks.

In  the recent past,  mailo tenure is intensely debated. The RELAPU project is severally  cited as an empirical example of how the Uganda NLP, 2013 strategies can be implemented as measures to put in check rampant evictions of occupants from parcels registered under mailo tenure. Additionally, the amendment of the following provision is recommended:

''Section 31 (9) of the Land Act provides that for the avoidance of doubt, the security of tenure of a tenant shall not be prejudiced because he or she does not possess a certificate of occupancy.''

This in effect means that it is optional to have the certificate; this which has not helped many with legitimate claims as they lack documented evidence to present in courts of law. The Act provides under Section 33 (1) of the Land Act '' the provision of a certificate of occupancy to a tenant by a landlord which acts as proof of occupancy.''

There is consideration for a review to allow for mass certification of legitimate claims supported with social documents/LIP as an initial step.

Qualitative evidence and voices from the beneficiaries indicate RELAPU has improved the tenure security of tenants and Mailo landowners which in turn has increased investment in land in light of the reduced fear of being evicted/ actual and perceived security of tenure.

There has been evidence of increase in acreage of land available for farming for Households as parcels under conflict have reduced. Documented land is also less risky to rent out to others.

Evidence of increased investment in long-term income generating crops such as coffee, banana plantations etc

More scientific evidence on this will be generated from the World Bank led Impact Evaluation study to conducted at the end of the project in 2022.

Dear Daniel,

Thanks very much for these comprehensive and informative responses to the questions posed thus far. It seems that the project has had many successes. 

I am curious to know if you were able to see any effect on the strength of women's land tenure in the project area. Any thoughts on this?

Best regards,

Darryl

Dear Darryl,

In addition to my submission below;

Through awareness raising many women are now aware that they can indeed bear individual or joint ownership of land. It has been common that women would register land under their use either in their spouse' name or male childrens' names. On the other hand, men are also encourged to formally bequeth land and property rights to the girl child as well.

Land owners have been observed to respect legitimate claims of both men and women. Still, it is common that women are more vulnerable if their spouse passes on. This has been impressed upon the males with respect to the benefits of joint registration as well as the formal writing of wills. Still, while the Uganda legal framework provides for spousal consent during land transactions a number of male community members occupying mailo tenure have expressed reservations to joint registration/documentation at first registration of use rights more so for parcels that do not bear the matrimonial home. It is my belief that specific studies are necessary to discern the specific effects on the varied categories of women: married, single, separated, divorced, elderly, married-with-children, married-without-children, separated-with-children, separated-without-children, cohabiting, traditionally married etc.

The real impact of the project in terms of numbers is yet to be complete but a scientific study to investigate the most prominent or preferred option by the tenants and landowners as far as the options to resolve the Impasse between landowners and tenants on Mailo in line with the National Land Policy 2013 strategies shows that evidence is required if any support is to be given in the registration of rights of tenants on mailo tenure to discern between those with legitimate use claims and those without.

Support to landowners with regard to the update of their registered interest since un-updated land owners records directly impact on the possibilities for further tenure securization for the land users.

 Awareness raising is necessary after land use rights documentation on financial literacy as well as good agronomic practices in consideration of the determined land sizes.

RELAPU did not have the mandate to further explore how the NLP, 2013 strategies in mailo tenure could be operationalised. One in particular (land sharing) has the benefit of the occupant not necessarily needing funds to purchase the registered interest in the occupied portion as they recieve full registered interest in a reduced portion. However, this has the unintended effect of involuntary sharing, land fragmentation and land speculation. What could be done better perhaps could be to follow up land inventorization of use rights with systematic land consolidation and land readjustment procedures; which would allow for land ''value'' sharing between owners and occupants with the added benefit of orderly rural development.

Hello,

The time for this online discussion has passed quickly! It is already time to consider our last question:

 
Is the mainstreaming of the VGGT and its principles still relevant as a tool for advocacy, decision making and research in support of strengthening tenure rights in your country? If so, what can a project such as this do in the future to advance national land reform agendas?
 

 

More than the other questions, this one should resonate with those who were and were not directly involved in the project. Where do we go with mainstreaming the VGGTs to help improve land governance? Please tell us what you think!

Thanks,

Darryl

La Côte d'Ivoire veut développer ses productions agricoles et être autosuffisante. La plupart des terres sont dédiées d'office aux activités  cultures de rente ( cacao, café, anacarde, coton...) et de subsistance (céréales, tubercules, maraicher...). L'elevage ayant été traditionnellement laissé au second plan,  peine de nos jours à se faire une place dans l'espace économique et spatial. la Cote d'Ivoire malgré les bonnes volontés a du mal à s'affranchir de importations de viandes. De plus en plus la concurence entre les activités de cultures végétales et l'élevage se trouvent confrontés à une compétition rude sur les ressources naturelles territoriales disponibles et il s'en suit des conflits parfois mortels. Plus que jamais, la mise en place de regles de gestion d'un foncier pastoral reconnu avec des aires de paturages exclusives( dédiées aux activités pastorales) et des pistes de déplacement des animaux, est necessaire. Soulignons que chaque année, l'agriculture grignote sur les espaces ruraux  encore "libres", et l'orpaillage vient assombrir encore plus ce tableau. 

Il est donc impératif de faire passer le message de la reconnaissance des terres destinées à l'elevage en général et au pastoralisme plus particulierement. Ce serait une bonne solution de réduction des conflits et une garantie de pérénistation de l'élevage. Pou atteindre ces objectifs, les connaissances (reconnaissance) des DV sont primordiales. Des discussions avec des thématiques sur le foncier impliquant les décideurs et mettant en présence les différents acteurs permetraient une meilleure prise de conscience. En gros, porter la discussion au haut niveau pourrait certainement ouvrir sur de meilleurs horizons.

Merci pour votre commentaire. Le renforcement de la gouvernance des droits fonciers pastoraux est un objectif important des VGGT. Beaucoup de travail a été fait sur cette question, mais il en reste encore beaucoup. J'espère que cela pourra arriver en Côte d'Ivoire !

Facilitate Issuance of Certificates of Occupancy for tenants on Mailo land as a progressive increase in tenure security along the continuum following on the Social documentation of legitimate claims.

Support the administration of registered interests through support to government entities, mailo landowners and customary owners with respect to estate administration matters as this directly and indirectly affects legitimate use rights over their properties.

Continue supporting the issuance of Certificates of customary ownership on customary land.

Expand land inventorisation activities in other districts and regions.

Support data integration of mapped tenant and customary land rights holders' spatial data into the National Land Information system.

Together with MLHUD support the subsequent transactions after issuance of  CoOs and CCOs i.e guidelines for the administration of these registered interests with respect to sales, mortgages, leases, estate administration, transfers etc.

Support to traditional institutions with registered interests on mailo land with regard to FFP approaches and technologies.

Support policy and advocacy work around land governance issues in the country.

Look into increasing access to finance by tenants and landowners who have the LIP, COO and CCOs through financial literacy as well as support for the development of suitable financial products.

Look into of access and use of land by the youth especially in Northern Uganda as a pilot.

Yes, quite relevant. FPIC is one of the key principles that should be promoted.

Since VGGT principles have been reflected in other FAO important agenda and instruments (e.g. agrology, RAI, etc.), it is important to collaborate with other DPs and use different platforms to disseminate them.

Yes,  

  1. Continuous Advocacy on responsible land tenure governance at all levels creates common understanding that leads to common solution to land problems, 

  2. Institutional and community capacity building continuously improve governance of tenure, 

  3. Awareness on land law gaps empowers communities to demand for recognition and protection of their customary land tenure rights, 

  4. Bring land registration services closer to the targeted communities by improving the infrastructure at locality level.

  5. Support to National Land Commission to lead in development of land policies, reform land laws and land use planning using VGGT.

Use of Fit for Purpose (FFP) approaches and FFP technologies (with a continuum of accuracies) on customary as well as mailo tenure to document land rights as a basis for issuance of the certificates of customary ownership (CCOs) and certificates of occupancy (CoOs). On mailo tenure, the FFP technologies enable the establishment of the actual registered interest with whom negotiations have to be held to further tenure securization through juxta positioning (in QGIS) use and ownership rights.

The alternative dispute resolution mechanisms using locally based structures; relying on a combination of opinion leaders, local authorities, CSO partners and traditional authorities that have mediated land disputes has proven to be effective as an alternative to time-consuming and costly formal judicial processes.

The use of CRISP (land rights data collection tool) and incorporating aspects of physical planning and wetlands protection particularly on customary land in the Northeastern region has been achieved by the project something that has only been done by RELAPU.

The whole procedure of inventorization of land rights on private Mailo something that no partner; not even government dared to do prior to 2017, has been achieved by RELAPU. A social document is an important first step that has bridged the gap between informality of legitimate tenure rights and formal registered interest for customary and more so for occupants on mailo tenure .

While ‘’FPIC’’ and ‘’do not harm’’ result into an initially less systematic approach, the gradually increasing systematic approach improves accuracy of documentation as well as reduces the average cost per parcel.

The display of results of parcel mapping for community validation prior to land tenure documents issuance strengthens community participation and ownership aside from the offering an opportunity for community members to contribute to quality control of the data collected.

Multistakeholder dialogues have been utilised as a avenue to share experiences, challenges and good practices amongst project partners as well as forums to share challenges with the line ministry with respect to land governance bottlenecks.

Personalmente considero que sigue y va a seguir siendo pertinente, creo que en nuestro país debe haber mucha mas equidad en la distribución de territorios, hoy en día hay mucha tierra que no se explota adecuadamente, así como también hay muchos campesinos sin tierra donde cultivar, y allí es donde nos puede dar la mano este tipo de proyectos, acompañar ala comunidad campesina que tal vez tiene todas as ganas pero no tiene tierra o que tiene tierra pero no tiene recursos para su explotación adecuada, tenemos un gran territorio donde los campesinos son los que nos proveen de productos de alta calidad para el consumo, y sin embargo no hemos sido considerados y justos con ellos, este tipo de proyectos puede apuntar hacia ese norte, redistribuir o adjudicarle territorio para explotar a aquellos que no lo tienen apoyarlos y estoy seguro que Colombia podría ser una gran potencia en la parte agraria, tal vez exportaríamos mas e importaríamos menos productos y a la vez la tierra queda en manos de quienes en verdad hacen un buen aprovechamiento de ella.

The mainstreaming of the VGGT and its principles is still relevant as a tool for advocacy, decision making and research in support of strengthening tenure rights in my country. The project needs to continue supporting all activities such as capacity building, monitoring and supervision of VGGT as well as advocacy and lobbying with relevant stakeholders.

The VGGT principles are a relevant tool for advocacy, decision-making and research as far as strengthening land tenure rights in Malawi if they are more domesticated per region or area of advocacy. The domestication of VGGT principles will demystify issues of land administration and policies, or laws among the public and sensitive communities. VGGT principles should not be regarded as foreign elements into how local customs manage their land for fear of creating a misconception on forceful land acquisition by government and its agents or associates.

The dissemination and teaching of VGGT principles should be tailored in a way that local communities and their respective leadership are fully involved for them to own the elements. Ownership of the voluntary guidelines should be emphasized at all levels of engagement to gain massive acceptability and meaning taking.

In this regard, trainers or facilitators in all public engagements should identified from within the areas so that they can use the local language fluently, and give local scenarios, cases and examples for easy acceptance. Importation of trainers from other regions or traditions should be discouraged at all costs as this has a direct negative impact on the advocacy. 

Other areas to consider to advance national land reform agendas are; 

-       Strategize and reach out to land-related investment authorities such as the Green-Belt Authority, Malawi conferederation of chambers of Commerce and large-scale investors such as Press Agriculture, Malwi mangoes etc.

-       Include research, documentation and promotion of best practices in land governance, land-based investments and conflict resolution so that local communities in similar predicaments can emulate.

-       Produce, print and disseminate more VGGT materials in vernacular languages and

-       Promote VGGT principles through electronic media such as Television and Radios. Efforts by the Ministry of Lands to have VGGT principles and other land related instruments were not successful due to unclear funding budget lines. 

However, the above notwithstanding, there have been land-related cases that were amicably settled using VGGT principles. These include:

-       A conflict between community forest workers and the Department of Forestry in Traditioanl Authority Kwataine in Ntcheu district and

-       A case in Salima involving the Department of national parks and Wildlife and over a thousand fishers on Malele Island in Traditional Authority Maganga in Salima

As a Regional Economic Community of the Africa Union, application of the VGGTs is very relevant to the Member States when read together with continental frameworks. The domestication process includes breaking down the VGGTs into several tools and in usable formats and gaining ownership and buy in of the political authority is very crucial. We have found this most beneficial as an approach to work.

Yes, the VGGT and its principles is still relevant in Namibia, especially since Government committed itself to implement the resolutions of the 2nd National Land Conference. The implementation of these Resolutions can largely draw inspiration on what the VGGT says. It is against this background and in anticipation of this need that FAO developed the Popular version of the VGGT for communal land administration with the Namibia context in mind.  The VGGT Popular Version was developed on the basis of having identified 14 pertinent land governance issues in Namibia’s communal areas. Each identified issue is linked to key messages of the VGGT that are relevant within the context of communal land administration in Namibia. Therefore, similar projects can support the National Land Agenda  by providing technical support through awareness creation on the VGGT principles and how it can be used to resolve land tenure issues.

There is a need for a conference /workshops to be held in order to workshop on the possible way to address the land tenure system in Namibia where to compile information from different stakeholders in order to hear their inputs on expropriation and compensation.  This conference should aim to discuss the land valuation, compensation for expropriation as well as creation of new protocol on fair compensation.   The other solution which is the final session of the conference can be a live streamed link on YouTube if possible,

          This list below also one of the contribution factor when it comes to Land reform agenda

-          the migration from rural to urban areas expansion and development of towns

-          PART C of the compensation policy states that:

Where the affected person opts to be given alternative land elsewhere in order to continue with their farming.

1.     The regional Compensation committee shall strive to provide the affected person with alternative land of similar size as the one which has been taken away from him but subject to availability.

2.    Ideally, the Regional Compensation Committee shall strive to provide the alternative land within the same traditional authority jurisdiction. However should the land be insufficient or not be available, the affected person may be relocated to other traditional authority areas, commercial farms where there is land in consultation with the relevant Traditional Authorities or line ministry.

3.    In addition, the affected person shall be compensated for being deprived of the right of use of the land and other improvements in terms of Part D below.

Según información presentada por La FAO, en este programa puedo aportar los siguientes datos:

Teniendo en cuenta que ya se incluyo el enfoque de genero en el punto1, de los acuerdos de La Abana, en lo concerniente a:

Acceso y uso de la tierra por parte de las mujeres.

Acceso y formalización de la tierra.

Participación política por parte de las mujeres rurales.

Sustitución de cultivos ilícitos en algunas subregiones.

Se debería continuar facilitando el tema de La Reforma Rural Integral (RRI).

Proporcionar el acceso prioritario de las mujeres campesinas a la tierra a través del Fondo Nacional de Tierras RRI, créditos o subsidios para la compra.

Acompañamiento Legal en Derechos, acceso a la justicia, nueva jurisdicción agraria, formación técnica y financiera a las organizaciones de mujeres campesinas orientadas a constituir cooperativas y asociaciones vinculadas a la producción y transformación agrícolas.

Promoción de la participación de las mujeres y sus organizaciones en la mediación de conflictos.

Adopción del enfoque diferencial y de género, en el diseño e implementación de planes relevantes para el punto 1, especialmente Salud, derechos de los trabajadores rurales, economía solidaria y cooperativa rural, y garantía del derecho a la alimentación.

Through inclusiveness project implementation; women, youth and men are included in the land use rights documentation and the CCO processes. CoO and LIP documents both provide for joint ownership for couples and families as well as individual ownership for both men and women.

The project relies on the mandated lower land administration institutions such as the Area Land Committees which a comprised of female member.

CSO partners have emphasised the related issues of women land, marital and succession rights during both awareness raising and grievances settlement.

 Encouraging women and youth participation in awareness raising activities, ADR processes as well as participation on land use rights documentation teams.

Gender disaggregated data from awareness raising events, use rights documentation and ADR shows use rights of women headed Households and joint ownership of the LIP as part of the secured/documented use and customary ownership rights.

The project has documented success stories emerging from marginalised categories such as the women, elderly, youth, and PWDs; whose ownership and use rights have also been documented.

Thanks very much for this additional information.

L’intégration des VGGT et de ses principes ont été pertinents, ils ont été un outil de plaidoyer et de prise de décision dans mon pays, ils ont matérialisé le choix du gouvernement de respecter les engagements pris au niveau international.

 

A l’avenir pour faire avancer des agendas nationaux il faut une large diffusion du document des VGGT il faut une adhésion totale des acteurs concernés par le foncier à ce document par des traductions du document en langes nationales.

 

Integration des VGGT est toujours pertinente puisque dans notre pays la sensibilisation des autorités aux VGGT n’a pas eu lieu. Au moment où l’atelier allait être organisé, la crise de 2015 a éclaté.

A l’avenir, le projet pourrait commencer par cette sensibilisation des autorités politiques et techniques aux VGGT, et renforcer le droit d’accès de la femme à la terre à travers l’enregistrement des droits réels qui ne sont pas encore connus au pays-seul le droit de propriété est enregistré et est matérialisé par un titre foncier- les autres droits ne sont reconnus que de manière contractuelle. 

Le projet pourrait aussi  travailler sur les stratégies du droit d’accès des jeunes à la terre, en vue de réduire le chômage et rendre le milieu rural attrayant pour eux ?

As I wrote previously, the VGGT and its principles are the guideline that Vietnam consults to develop policies and ensure that its policies are in line with international treaties. It is also through legislation mechanisms and policies that industrial and agricultural products from Vietnam can enter the international market. In the near future, it is possible that academic credentials from Vietnam will also be accepted in the world.

Regarding the adjustment of the land law: Currently, Vietnam is following the 2013 Land Law. The focal point of this law is the accumulation of land and the increased transparency in administrative procedures.

The Government of Vietnam advocates for the accumulation and concentration of land in order to improve the efficiency of agricultural production, through appropriate expansion of production scale, application of scientific and technological advances and the formation of specialized areas that respond to market demands. This is a necessary step for Vietnam to integrate with the world.

So far, after nearly 10 years of implementation, the 2013 Land Law has achieved important results. Yet it also has shortcomings that need to be adjusted. Currently, the Government of Vietnam is evaluating the implementation of the 2013 Land Law to make adjustments, which are:

- Strengthening policies on land acquisition, compensation, and resettlement to better ensure the rights of people whose land is recovered.

- Completing and synchronizing the digital cadastral dossiers system between the cadastral map, registration information and user information. Increasing flexibility in updating land changes;

- Strengthening the role of local authorities in proactively detecting, preventing and promptly handling violations of the land law;

- Completing regulations on the usage of land resources so that land can be used economically and efficiently and become an important internal resource for socio-economic development of the country.

- Enhancing the flexibility of land prices and transparency in land price determination.

I want to emphasize that the issue of land ownership, as enshrined in the Constitution of Vietnam, will never change. In Vietnam, land is our national resource, our irreplaceable means of production, and our living environment. This land is where 54 ethnic groups live together in harmony, and it is the result of thousands of years of struggle and protection throughout Vietnam’s history.

The integration of VGGT and principles is still very relevant in the policy advocacy process, influencing the decision-making process of legislators. In the future, this project can be made intensively into a full project, not just a "Learning program" component. The project can develop a program of activities such as: Continuing training to improve the capacity and awareness of state agencies at the provincial level about VGGT and its effects; Introduction of VGGT to NGOs, by NGOs with certain voices, influence on state agencies, legislative bodies; building a network of multi-stakeholders on VGGT; develop a policy advocacy plan for guiding documents on land law enforcement, etc.

The State of Viet Nam has guaranteed most of the recommendations of the VGGT principles but focus mostly on legally recognized tenure rights. In addition, land-use efficiency remains low due to the situation of small land parcels and land fragmentation. Therefore, the mainstreaming of the VGGT and its principles is a valuable tool to promote responsible investments in agriculture, protect socially recognized tenure rights and rights of vulnerable groups when promoting the accumulation and concentration of agricultural land is considered as an essential step and a great policy of the Government.

In the future, it is necessary to provide capacity building on responsible investment and VGGT principles to all government authorities not just at central level, but also at local levels as they are the key stakeholders involving in the promotion, approval and monitoring of land-based investments as well as the development and implementation of national land reform agendas.

I have not been directly involved in the VGGT process but your last question "Where do we go with mainstreaming the VGGTs to help improve land governance?" raises important issues.

Back in 2016 Ruth Hall and Ian Scoones wrote a review of the VGGT process which included a section on key debates about VGGT implementation. In this they noted that:

Globally, significant progress has been made on implementing the VGGT. Enormous efforts by diverse actors have laid the groundwork for scaling up initiatives. For a non-binding instrument this widespread support is a key ingredient, but by itself it is not enough.

They identified a number of key debates which had arisen around the VGGT

"Critics in CSOs and social movements... argue many of the implementation initiatives focus on governing the status quo, through protection of existing rights and improved land administration, rather than agrarian change and transforming land relations towards greater equity. This is despite the provisions on redistribution and restitution in Paragraphs 14–15, which have been somewhat neglected in practice, arguably because of wider political realities ... and the drive by both governments and investors to facilitate investment".

They asked a key question:  "Is the focus on improving governance of existing landholding systems and land relations at the cost of transformative visions of agrarian reform?"

Hall and Scoones also drew attention to what they described as a ‘business turn’ in the use of the VGGT  which had emerged in international discussions prioritising elements that concern responsible business and the management of private land-based investments. They questioned whether the guidelines had shifted  "towards regulating and shaping private companies’ behaviour – possibly to the detriment of sufficient attention to the responsibilities of governments and building state capacity to improve governance, recognition and protection of tenure rights". They  also questioned  whether "the growing expectations of private companies deflect attention from governments as primarily responsible for governing land rights, and expect companies to substitute in their own policies for failings and gaps in national laws and policies?"

Crucially Hall and Scoones note that:

"Continued political commitment – from governments, donors and others – hinges on evidence that the Guidelines are being translated from global ‘soft law’ into ‘hard law’ at country level. Examples are needed of national governments that have locked key principles of the VGGT into policy and legislation".

This is where the contestation lies in South Africa. Critics argue that there have been  numerous process such as:

However the  majority of the in-depth recommendations which have been made - many of them congruent with the VGGT - appear to have fallen on deaf ears and the state has proceeded with a policy agenda which many argue ignores the fundamentals contained within the VGGT. This has contributed to increasingly polarised positions around the continued value of engaging with government.

Some laws past and present run counter to the principles contained within the VGGT  

For example the Ingonyama Trust Act led to mining activities and other developments on communal land, frequently done without proper community consultation  which have led  to deprivation of use rights and access to land. At the same time people’s rights to land occupied and inherited by families over generations have been arbitarily and illegally converted into into lease agreements, recently found to be illegal.

Likewise the  recently passed Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Act (No 3 of 2019) serves to undermine rather than secure tenure rights and has eroded the protections contained in preexisting law.  All of this runs counter to the principles contained in the Voluntary Guidelines.

These contradictions have contributed to an increasingly adversarial environment in which land rights activists have  turned to the courts and to protest action. Even then, despite numerous court judgments confirming land rights in different settings, practically little seems to change on the ground, which in turn deepens the polarisation and  mounting disaffection with the state.

 South Africa has been in a bitter struggle to resist "state capture" as politically connected elites appropriate resources and hollow out state institutions. This may go a little way to explain the current situation pertaining to the VGGT in South Africa and the difficulties in navigating a highly contested and fragmented landscape.

Hall and Scoones observed that:

[While] much donor funding has gone to global multilateral partnerships with global institutions, bilateral partnerships with states and developing tools; remarkably little support has gone to direct civil society action to mobilise communities around their rights. In the midst of proposed investments, civil society input and support for grassroots organisations could strengthen the bargaining power of poor people and their capacity to negotiate.

Increased support for civil society organisations may  provide the key to effectively mainstream the VGGT.

 

Thanks Rick for your reflections on the experience with the   multi-stakeholder platforms in South Africa. I  agree with you that the VGGTs offer many avenues for reform and by  no means suggest a 'one size fits all' solution to land issues. There is something in them for everyone and every country, regardless of livelihood system, environment, historical land use patterns, or broader governance trends. One of the ways that the most relevant VGGTs-inspired solutions to land governance problems was intended to be developed was through debate and discussion within the multi-stakeholder platforms.  As you point out, CSOs have a key role to play as important stakeholders. And I would add also local communities more broadly - as any policy, legal or regulatory change will need their buy-in if it is to be implementable, particularly where it touches on long-established values, attitidues and practices and ways of organising the relations between people and land, and between different people in respect of land. Gender, class, ethnicity, age, disability etc all have a bearing here, so the more diverse and inclusive multi-stakeholder platforms can be, the more opportunity there is for meaningful participation across  all of society,and a better (more socially legitimate) end result.

Participation in Responsible Governance of tenure is about involving the community and the people who are directly affected by the administration of tenure. It can range from consultation involvement and full involvement. 

Types of consultation include; Face to Face engagement, Formal Committees, Written documents. 

Participation will include; working groups or parties, local, national or regional multistakeholder platform and Framework. For effective participation, participants should be drawn from a range of persons affected. The participants shall have all the accurate information and their input should be considered by those responsible. 

 

Recognizing the tenure rights of land and forestry hold an importance for individuals and communities in a number of ways:

Economically- as a main source of livelihoods and food security or as a safety net. 

As a source of social legitimacy and as a reflection of power within society. 

As a source of cultural identity and as a marker of belonging to a community and as a political territory. 

The VGGT capacity building and awareness creation for Land for Life Ethiopia platform, the platform focused on the land governance and responsible agricultural investment, is one of the hallmark event to create awareness and capacity associated with the VGGT for government officials and experts, private, key CSOs, and academia. Thanks for this great breakthrough.

The training and the strong collaborative ties with UNFAO Eastern africa regional office is  helping  Land for Life to know more about the guidelines and its accompanying thecnical guide, in addition the integrating VGGT and F&G also one of the insightful ways to understand more VGGT. VGGT is also supported in mainsteramimg the geneder equality.

There is a good a start translating VGGT to local languages, but as Ethiopia is one of the largest conutry in Africa. Atleast if VGGT translated to additional three languages this would serve more nationally. The other point to be considered is, its high tecnical language, FAO should strenthened in working to community freindly languages where its contents are easily understood without refering to addtional document. 

The other important point that this project should be strengthened/coninoued ,  is to more focus on thematic areas like investment, landtenure, pastoralism, gender equality,  country tailored FPIC as Land for Life is using VGGT as one of the point of advocay issue to be domesticated in the country laws related to natural resources specifically in land and land based agricultural investment.  as there is a great potential of land and land related conflicets and issues of food security , FAO should work more on capcity building support for government and CSO to realize the SDG.

Dear Fikru,

Thanks for your comment. I agree that it is important to find ways to make the VGGT and related resources more accessible to users in terms of different languages and trying to make those resources less technical. I hope that can happen in Ethiopia and elsewhere in the coming years.

Darryl

There were many innovative methodologies developed within the MUL project in Colombia, in particular, it is interesting to highlight the "Pathway for the formalization and titling of properties of Public Law Entities" (Hoja de Ruta para la formalización y titulación de predios de Entidades de Derecho Público). A tool that interprets the legislation and facilitates pedagogically the understanding of the rules on legalization and land titling, associated with public law entities. When communities manage to legalize their properties (rural schools, hospitals, sports fields, community halls), local governments may invest the public resources to maintain and improve the quality of the services provided on these properties.

 

Another interesting tool is the "Route for addressing and transforming socio-environmental conflicts" (Ruta para el abordaje y transformación de conflictos socioambientales), it approaches a transformation focus because we do not intend to talk about conflict resolution (considering the magnitude of them) but rather we want to transform and prevent them from growing and reaching other levels. This rapid conflict approach methodology allows, through 4 cyclical steps, to analyze and manage socio-environmental conflicts, it is a new tool that can be used in any Latin American or external context.

 

On the other hand, another interesting tool is the "10 keys for journalists covering land tenure rights" (10 claves para periodistas que cubren derechos de tenencia de la tierra), a basic compilation so that journalists from different origins can understand the VGGT and can use them in the best way in their journalistic investigations and their coverage of land issues. A tool that can be used internally by FAO in several countries, as well as widely disseminated in front of journalists in different contexts.

Awareness raising and capacity development could be seen as continuous activities going beyond any individual project. Government institutions, donors, NGOs/CSOs and land professionals could also take the lead actively applying the VGGTs in their work and making use of the available material.

I have used the VGGTs, the Technical Guides and some e-learning courses as reference documents in my own work as a consultant since 2013. This has been mainly about:

  • Referring back to the VGGTs to ensure that proposed, implemented and evaluated activities are in line with them. I have found the section on the ‘General Principles’ and ‘Principles of Implementation’ the most useful. This is also because they talk about the notions of legitimate tenure rights, equity and justice, and gender equality. In my view these are important considerations for any socially sound land policy, project or activity.
  • Using the Technical Guides and e-learning courses as background material when designing specific activities and training. The Technical Guides, in particular, serve as useful checklist about issues to be considered and give content related guidance.

In overall, the VGGTs and its side products could be seen as important ‘school books’ on land tenure and governance setting some minimum criteria. They can be the first stepping stones for more detailed, contextual and critical analysis of and action on land governance going beyound established status quo.

Hi Anni,
Thank you for your contribution. It is great to hear that you have been able to use both the VGGT and the FAO resources so much in your work. I have done the same. I hope to see development of new resources and more widespread use of the VGGT and resources by others in a wide range of stakeholder groups.
Darryl

Thank you to everyone who has participated in this online discussion. The comments have been both rich and informative and we appreciate that so many took the time to take part.

As I read through the comments, I see a number of themes emerging. Many arose in response to question 6 which asks about the way forward for the VGGT. Here are my takeaways from responses to that question as well as a few other points that arose in response to previous questions:

  • The project has had a wide range of positive impacts on the governance of tenure in the project countries. Many achievements were described throughout the discussion.
  • There is broad consensus that the VGGT are definitely still relevant and there is significant demand to continue efforts to mainstream them in the project countries and, I think, beyond.
  • Progress has been made in strengthening customary land tenure rights in some countries, but much remains to be done. There is a need for further awareness-building and capacity-building to help rights holders understand and better protect their rights.
  • Inclusive participation and consultation works! This has proven to be true with respect to customary rights and formalization of statutory rights. But efforts need to be ramped up substantially.
  • There is a need to further "domesticate" the VGGTs to make them more accessible and user-friendly for a wider audience. They are not "one-size fits all." While much has been done in this regard, they should be translated into even more languages and distributed more broadly. They can be presented through use of a variety of tools and resources to make them more accessble to more people. One example of this is the "VGGT Popular Version" in Namibia.
  • The VGGTs have been successfully integrated into existing and new land laws in many countries, such as Vietnam. But more should be done to develop regulations and build awareness at all levels of government. Several people noted the need for training of regional and local government officials.
  • Much more can be done to deploy the VGGT in support of pastoral land tenure rights.
  • Progress has been made in strengthening women's land rights but, here too, there is still much to do. As I previously observed, this progress includes improving the content of formal laws and policies as well as in the area of implementation. But big gaps remain, especially in the area of customary tenure. This is  a key area for ongoing work using the VGGTs.
  • Future projects involving the VGGT and probably the CFS-RAI principles should include a more specific focus on improving food security and nutrition, including more robust efforts to establish the evidentiary link between strengthening tenure rights and improved food security.

Thank you again for participating in this discussion. Please join us for one of the webinars  on 27 and 28 October to learn more about these issues. You can sign up at this link:

https://landportal.org/event/2021/10/webinar-capturing-knowledge-impleme...

We hope to see many of you there.

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