Call to strengthen responsible governance of tenure of land
In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines for responsible Governance of land tenure (VGGT), Liberia has held a National Dialogue as participants call on stakeholders to strengthen implementation of the guidelines through a 7-count resolution – the Sinkor Declaration.
Key actors in the Land, Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests sectors concluded a day-long National Dialogue on the VGGT +10 Anniversary on Thursday, 17 November 2022.
The National Dialogue brought together 68 participants from across various constituencies including government, private sector, civil society organizations, academia and research institutions.
It also brought together local community establishments to reflect and debate on the VGGT implementation process.
The National Dialogue was 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).
According to the Communications and Reporting Officer of MAP Liberia Land Platform, Mr. Haje L. Paasewe, the National Dialogue is one of several in-country activities which afforded stakeholders the opportunity to take stock of the VGGT implementation process.
He cited progress made during the course of the implementation and the challenges encountered, renewing concrete political commitment, and identifying the next steps for the further implementation of the Guidelines.
Speaking to a team of reporters during the event, Paasewe said the VGGT is an internationally negotiated document by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) under the Food and Agriculture Organization.
The negotiations, chaired by the United States, occurred over a nine-month period and involved 96 member countries and over 30 civil society organizations.
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.
Commenting on the purpose of the guideline and relevance of the dialogue, Paasewe narrated that the guidelines are intended to promote responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, with respect to all forms of tenure.
The guidelines also support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.
Specifically, the Guidelines serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure.
They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities.
They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.
While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the Guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development.
Further, the MAP Communications Officer stated that the guidelines are generally meant to benefit all people in all countries, with specific emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people.
“Now, ten years after the endorsement of the VGGT, it is time to take stock in assessing the extent to which the Guidelines have been used as an orientation for national-level tenure reform processes and importantly as a tool to contribute to tenure security at local levels,” Paasewe said.
The National Dialogue, which ended with a seven-count resolution known as the Sinkor Declaration, was attended by several high-profile individuals from the various constituencies whose roles and involvement with the VGGT implementation process have been crucial.
One of such person was Dr. Roland C. Massaquoi, President of the Bong County Community College (BCC) and former Lead Consultant of the VGGT implementation process in Liberia.