Liberia Holds Dialogue on Land Governance

— Commemorates 10th anniversary of the voluntary guidelines for the responsible tenure of land, forest and Fisheries

On November 17, the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Tenure of Land, Forest, and Fisheries (VGGT) will host a national dialogue to bring together landowners to talk about important issues affecting land governance.

Under the theme: “Taking-Stock and Raising Awareness and Commitment for the Further Implementation of the Guidelines”, the event will be Co-Convened by the Multi-Actor Platform on Land Governance and Responsible Agricultural Investment (MAP Liberia Land Platform), the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The dialogue, according to Haji Paasewe, communication and reporting officer of the MAP-Liberia platform, is one of the several in-country activities that will give stakeholders the chance to access the VGGT, implementation process in terms of advancement made and the difficulties encountered. 

The committee on world food Security (CFS) of the Food and Agriculture organization of the UN (FAO) negotiated the VGGT,  an international agreement, over a nine months period under the direction of the United States with the participation of  96 member countries and more than 30 civil Society organizations. 

The event is bringing together some 55-60 participants from all the

constituencies including the government, private sector, academia, Civil Society Organizations and other relevant international development partners.

“The document was adopted by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in May 2012; since then, attention has been shifted to the implementation of the guidelines, said Paasewe.”

The VGGT provides a framework for countries to use in the establishment of laws and policies, strategies, and programs, which clarify and secure tenure rights.

The guidelines, according to MAP-Liberia  communication officer,

accommodate for many differing viewpoints on ‘best practices’ and introduce a broad range of structures that can be relevant in all parts of the world. 

“All member countries of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) have committed to uphold and apply the VGGT principles, but considerable challenges remain with regard to their implementation,” he said.

Now, ten years after the endorsement of the VGGT, stakeholders will assemble to take stock in assessing the extent to which the guidelines have been used as an orientation for national-level tenure reform processes and as a tool to contribute to tenure security at local levels.

The GIZ’s  Global Program Responsible for Land Policy (GPRLP)”, the International Land Coalition (ILC)’s “National Land Coalition – formerly the National Engagement Strategies (NES)”, and Welthungerhilfe-supported “Land for Life (LfL)”-Initiative are among the global programs promoting the implementation of the VGGT in the land sector. 

These organizations have identified 12 countries including Liberia, where they will strengthen coordinated efforts in supporting the following activities. 

“An expert-led ‘light’ assessment in each of the 12 countries to understand to which extent the VGGT have been used as a reference framework for policy reform, whether key provisions of the VGGT have been translated into national laws and regulations and where major gaps are, and in which instances the VGGT have been used to develop tools and methodologies to improve governance of tenure at the local level; and a National Dialogue in each of the 12 countries, based on a semi-structured methodology, organized through existing multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs), multi-actor partnerships (MAPs), and land coalitions.”

During the national dialogue, a number of concrete strategic follow-up activities will be planned all intended towards reflecting and (re-)focusing on national-level roadmaps for land reform, oriented around the key vocabulary and principles of the VGGT.