ERC Success Story: Building a Land Governance Partnership in Burkina Faso

In June of 2013, in support of the G7’s commitment to implement the Voluntary Guidelines for the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), the U.S. Government and the Government of Burkina Faso agreed to create a Land Governance Partnership. This partnership is designed improve land administration and other land governance issues and increase transparency in Burkina Faso’s land sector. These efforts support policy commitments made in Burkina Faso’s New Alliance Cooperation Framework related to “Facilitating Access to Land and its Secure Productive Use.” Partnership activities will also help build a stronger enabling environment in the country, one that gives farmers—women and men—positive incentives to invest labor and capital to improve productivity and, in turn, food security.

The Partnership has two main goals:  establish a new institution called the National Land Observatory (NLO) and build local capacity to track and to improve the transparency of land transactions. Following the partnership agreement, both activities are now underway. In late June, the General Assembly of Burkina Faso formally established the NLO and in early July, the organization began operations with USAID support.

In order to help the government implement the VGGT, the NLO will monitor and support land tenure reform in the country. It will conduct research and policy analysis touching on rural and urban tenure issues, disseminate findings broadly, and engage with regional organizations to improve land governance and reduce land-related conflict in West Africa. The current staff of five are working on creating a sustainable and self-financing institution that will help improve land governance in their country.

The other important goal of the Partnership is to build local capacity to track land transactions and help improve the transparency of these transfers. Under this component of the project, an assessment report of Burkina Faso’s existing land information system, including reviewing the status of a land record digitization effort, supported by the Millennium Challenge Account/Burkina Faso was developed. An options paper is that will discuss possible approaches and best next steps for a land information system for the country is also in development.