Members of the steering committee of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security have recently endorsed the VGGT Secretariat in Monrovia.
The Secretariat comprises representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Civil Society Organizations and food sector partners.
The project, funded by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany, is aimed at helping governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries.
It outlines principles that governments can refer to when making laws and administering land, fisheries and forests rights.
In his opening remarks, Marc Abdala, FAO Country Representative, pledged his organization’s support to ensure the success of the VGGT.
He said, “FAO remains dedicated in supporting the process of the VGGT implementation because its role in improving sustainable food security is tremendous.”
Mr. Abdala congratulated members of the VGGT team, including Dr. Roland Massaquoi, who has led efforts to ensure that all stakeholders are part of the process.
He added that the first Steering Committee meeting was a milestone in the implementation of the VGGT program in Liberia.
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Moses Zinnah, who chairs the Steering Committee, buttressed the FAO Representative’s assertion that the first Steering Committee meeting marked the beginning of a great step in the implementation of the program.
Minister Zinnah said, “I am happy that we have a cross section of all stakeholders involved in tenure rights, fisheries and forestry that are committed to moving the VGGT forward.”
The VGGT Secretariat will lead the coordination and promotion of the VGGT in Liberia.
The Ministry of Agriculture has offered to host the Secretariat at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Project Management Unit at the University of Liberia’s Fendell Campus outside Monrovia.
On May 11, 2012, the committee on World Food Security endorsed the VGGT to promote food security and sustainable development by improving tenure governance and protecting the rights of millions, often very poor people.
At the end of the forum, the committee members decided, with reference to its last meeting, that the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the National Traditional Council will become part of the Steering Committee.
It was also agreed that the MIA will serve as policy maker to the Steering Committee and the Interim Land Taskforce will also join the Steering Committee.
Meanwhile, members of the Steering Committee will select two persons to serve as focal point and alternate for VGGT related to contact and information sharing.