The Global Donor Working Group on Land joins in the commemorations by sharing short testimonies from their Chair, Vice-Chair and members, on what The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) have meant to them.

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“This year, the global community celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the VGGT. These Guidelines, unanimously endorsed by members in 2012, represent a shared vision that enhancing the tenure security of the world’s women and men, including small farmers, Indigenous Peoples ad others facing situations of vulnerability, can improve lives and livelihoods.

USAID was a strong supporter of the development of the VGGT and continues to support equitable and inclusive implementation of the Guidelines, including by working with many stakeholders to promote responsible land-based investing, women’s land rights, fit-for-purpose land registration and to support data collection and use of rigorous research and analysis to track progress.

As the statements below indicate, we have a strong company in these efforts. While national policies, customs and norms related to land vary from country to country, the VGGT continue to provide a roadmap for progress and, as we face immense challenges from rising food insecurity, a changing climate, biodiversity loss, and land degradation, the importance – and the potential – of the VGGT remains.”

Karol Boudreaux, Senior Land and Resource Governance Advisor, USAID
Chair of the GDPRD Global Donor Working Group on Land

“Since the endorsement of the VGGT in Rome in 2012, the Guidelines have served as a main building block throughout Dutch engagements in land governance: the VGGT have been a great starting point for discussing principles of good land governance in multi-stakeholder settings with our private sector, civil society, academia and the government; the guidelines were also used as a benchmark to monitor progress on land governance in our various projects and programmes; and last but not least the VGGT were a crucial guidance for programming new land governance interventions under our global LAND-at-scale programme since 2019. With LAND-at-scale the Netherlands aims to directly contribute to the application of the Guidelines both in the Netherlands as well as in our partner countries.”

Gemma Betsema, Senior Programme Advisor, Netherlands Enterprise and Development Agency; Vice-Chair of the GDPRD Global Donor Working Group on Land

“The VGGT provide a framework and reference to eradicate hunger and poverty through the responsible access, tenure and use of land and land-based natural resources. These are key for the achievement of the SDGs and central to the overall 2030 development agenda.

The VGGT have been a game changer concerning land policy formulation and implementation as they have empowered key stakeholders (small farmers, indigenous communities, rural women) who had been voiceless and excluded previously from the policy dialogue/policy making process.

Moving forward, the VGGT will be fundamental to address pressing issues such as land degradation, deforestation and desertification which are directly related to climate change. Thus, VGGT implementation will be key to the sustainability of food systems in the long term and to address/mitigate the impact of climate change.”

Adriano Campolina, Javier Molina Cruz, Francesca Romano
Members of the FAO Land Tenure Team

“The VGGTs are a necessary framework, for guidance and planning but also for monitoring. We used the articles of VGGTs to develop indicators, according to which progress towards effective land governance can be tracked. In the framework of Landex (focus on land governance overall) or the Land Matrix (focus on large scale land acquisitions), we feed these indicators with a broad ecosystem of data, gathering both official and non-official people-centred data. Embedded in multi-stakeholder platforms and processes, this enabled more evidence-based and inclusive policy processes.”

Ward Anseeuw, Senior Technical Specialist, Knowledge, Learning and Innovation
International Land Coalition (ILC) and senior researcher at CIRAD ‘French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development’

“Sierra Leone has demonstrated that the VGGT are instrumental for shaping multi-stakeholder dialogues on land tenure. It is thanks to the VGGT that there is a new land policy, new draft land laws, and an upcoming World Bank financed land administration project in Sierra Leone.”

Linus Pott, Land Administration Specialist, Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience & Land Global Practice
Africa Region (SAWU 1) – Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone

“IFAD has been a strong partner in the formulation and application of the VGGTs. The VGGTs have contributed to a greater recognition of the importance of good land and natural resource governance for our work in supporting rural transformation and social inclusion. They have helped catalyse our partnerships and lesson sharing in policy engagement at country and regional levels and globally.”

Harold Liversage, Lead Technical Specialist in Land Tenure
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

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Karol Boudreaux

USAID

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Gemma Betsemma

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)