As attention to the central role land governance plays in economic growth, food security, and sustainable development continues to increase, recognition of the Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security’s importance as a framework to guide effective laws and policies continues to rise. Workshops on the VGs have recently been held in Rwanda and Cameroon, with representatives from governments, civil society, and the private sector from around 20 countries attending each event. These workshops provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about the VGs, to identify ways to improve governance of tenure, and to propose ideas for implementation of the guidelines. The next meeting is scheduled for the week of April 22-25 in Amman, Jordan.
The US Government (USG) is committed to working with the international community to support implementation of the VGs – as well as the resource governance priorities identified by the G8 – as a strategy for improving food security, economic growth, and sustainable development. According to Dr. Gregory Myers, USAID Division Chief, Land Tenure and Property Rights, “the VGs are one of the most important tools developed by stakeholders to strengthen land governance systems. The USG remains committed to funding work that will support implementation.”
Along with raising awareness of the VGs, the focus of the international community is on identifying opportunities for implementation of the guidelines. In February, over 60 participants attended an expert meeting organized by the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as part of the UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD) in order to identify prioritized actions for improved legal frameworks and opportunities for cooperation between government bodies and civil society. As the meeting’s background paper points out, land and forest tenure are intrinsically linked to the debate on carbon rights and the equal sharing of benefits at national and local levels in all national REDD+ programs. REDD+ provides an opportunity to achieve sustainable forest management and to strengthen the resource rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. International donors, governments, and civil society organizations working to address these issues should continue to look to the VGs for guidance and best practices.
Click here for more information on the VGs from USAID.