Land Governance [ID: 641]

Land Governance

Topic | Organisation | Updates | Members [ID: 642]

Land is one of the most valuable resources a rural family can own to secure its livelihoods. Secure land holding can contribute to social inclusion, help protect human rights and support climate change adaptation and mitigation. Without secure land tenure, families and communities in rural, peri-urban and urban areas are vulnerable to conflict, displacement and expropriations, and may experience a variety of challenges to access natural and financial resources, markets, and other services.

The Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL) was established in April 2013 by the global donor community during the Donor Roundtable Meeting in Washington. The group was formed on the margins of the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, in response to: (i) the sharp and volatile increases in food prices that began in 2008; (ii) following the endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and; (iii) the experience of donor coordination to support those important negotiations.

Topic   |   Organisation   |   Updates   |   Members

Why we engage in – Headline [ID: 643]

Three reasons why we engage

Why we engage in – Content [ID: 644]

One out of five people feel their land tenure is insecure according to the Prindex Comparative Report in 2020.

The situation is worse for women and widows are further disadvantaged.

The consequences of land insecurity are far-reaching.

It can lead to higher risks of conflict, an inability to mitigate climate change, and a weakened rule of law for a variety of groups who are disadvantaged and marginalized.

We seek to bolster opportunities and help advance inclusive and sustainable resource governance.

Working together for improved food security and nutrition, enhanced economic growth, and better private sector integration. Most importantly, land rights can help human rights.

Members’ quotes title [ID: 645]

Talking about Land Governance

Members’ quotes [ID: 646]

Quote | Karol Boudreaux, USAID

“As we know from a growing body of research, there is less deforestation on lands where Indigenous communities have secure claims and ownership rights compared with areas where rights are less secure or are incomplete. Deforestation is avoided and more carbon is protected when Indigenous communities own and control their lands.”

Quote | Adriano Campolina, FAO

“The relationship of ownership, access to and control over land is a part of a larger power inequity equation. Besides the regulatory environment, one also should consider the power dynamics and the political economy surrounding land issues.”

Quote | Frits van der Wal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

“Improved land rights for all and sustainable land use are absolute preconditions for achieving the SDG targets on food & nutrition security, climate resilience, rule of law, peace & stability, inclusive growth and gender equality. This requires coordinated multi-stakeholder action aligned with people’s priorities and (sub)national policies.”

QUOTE | Wael Zakout, World Bank

“Secure property rights and efficient land registration institutions are a cornerstone of any modern economy. Without land tenure systems that work, economies risk missing the foundation for sustainable growth, threatening the livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable the most. It is not possible to end poverty and boost shared prosperity without serious progress on land and property rights.”

Quote | Victoria Stanley, World Bank

“Women’s access to and control over land is critical for development. We know from country studies that greater control over land leads to better food security and nutrition for that woman’s family. Investing in women’s land rights is an investment in the future.”

Quote | Michael Taylor, International Land Coalition

“ILC members come together to work for people-centred land governance. We believe this is a pathway to addressing the major challenges of our time; mitigating the climate crisis, overcoming extreme inequality, building democracy and promoting sustainable food systems.”

Quote | Esther Obaikol, Intergovernmental Authority on Development

Land is synonymous with iden­tity, culture, power, development, food, and human security. Good land governance is essential for sustainable use of our land, our environment, our shared prosperity and our common future, for a world in which both men and women, boys and girls, and all groups and generations live, thrive and prosper on land in equal stature.”

The Thematic Working Group [ID: 647]

The Thematic Working Group

Organisational structure – subheadline [ID: 648]

Organizational structure

  • The GDWGL is a network of twenty-nine bilateral and multilateral donors and international organizations cooperating on land-related issues worldwide. The group is facilitated by the Global Donor Platform and is currently chaired by USAID and The Netherlands. The Chair is held on a rotating basis by one of the Group's member organisations.
  • The Group routinely hosts side events during high-level conferences and forums. Physical meetings are held twice a year, usually in March during the World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty and in October during the Committee on World Food Security. Between these face-to-face meetings, the group also holds regular conference calls to discuss engagement in specific processes, to agree and report on annual activities, and exchange information on country-level programmes, amongst other items.
Organisational structure – content [ID: 649]
© IFAD/Chris McMorrow


© IFAD/Guillaume Bassinet



Organisational structure – content [ID: 650]

Our priority areas

Land Tenure and Resource Governance

  • The governance of land tenure and other natural resources is core to achieving food security, poverty eradication, rural development, environmental protection, reduction of the effects of climate change and sustainable social and economic development. A significant challenge remains in how to coordinate initiatives that ensure land tenure security is improved in an inclusive and effective way. Read More.

Country-level Coordination

  • Coordination has always been a core purpose of the GDWGL since its inception Its members have endorsed a Code of Conduct on country-level coordination that sets out their commitments to pursue closer coordination and complementarity of new land programmes and research. Read More.

Land Governance and Food Systems

  • The governance of tenure is fundamental to a sustainable food systems as equity and inclusion are important pillars in the transformation process. How society manages access to, control over, and use of land and natural resources is central to food production and consumption. Agricultural productivity (FAO 2011) and food availability refer to the type and diversity of food on offer, with close links to land and water access through food production systems (HLPE 2017).


The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT). The GDWGL has been a key player in advocating the use of the VGGT as well as in supporting dialogue spaces where land and development experts can share their lessons learnt from the implementation of the VGGT. A landmark result of this effort was the endorsement of the VGGT by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in 2012. The VGGT is the first internationally negotiated and agreed upon soft-law instrument on the governance of land tenure.  Read More.

The SDGs Land Indicators 1.4.2 and 5.a.1. The GDWGL advocated for the inclusion of land indicators under the Sustainable Development Goals, to alleviate poverty, enhance gender equality, and promote sustainable cities and communities. This has been instrumental in the process of raising the importance of the indicators from Tier II to Tier I.  Read More.

The Land Governance Programme Map. This interactive mapping tool shows where donors and development agencies are working with respect to land and resource governance and the investments made to implement the VGGT.  Read More.

State of Land Tenure and Governance Report: In 2019, on the sidelines of the African Land Policy Conference, the GDWGL endorsed a concept note for a Global Land Governance Report. The key objective is to produce an evidence-based report on the status of land tenure and governance issues for policy makers and others, one that links land to critical agendas such as implementation of VGGTs, SDGs, sustainable food systems, climate change, gender equality and biodiversity among others. The working group has also supported the development of a detailed outline for the report based on extensive key informant interviews and a review of existing data sources. Having supported this important early work, the GDWGL is encouraged to note that the report will move forward with the support of FAO, GLTN and UN-Habitat, the International Land Coalition and other partners.

Updates [ID: 651]


Latest Land Governance [ID: 652]

The Global Donor Working Group on Land celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the CFS VGGT

This year, the global community celebrates the 10-year anniversary of The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security (CFS VGGT). 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 CFS VGGT have meant to them.


Mining and the Green Energy Transition

A new report by USAID, “Mining and the Green Energy Transition”, emphasizes the critical importance of land use planning, community land rights formalization, and land administration and titling for a sustainable future.


Putting Land High on the International Development Agenda: Developing the State of Land Tenure and Governance Report

12 January 2021 | Virtual

Led by the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL) report working group and together with key stakeholders, a virtual workshop was organized at the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (GDPRD) on the development of the State of Land Tenure and Governance Report.


Events Land Governance [ID: 653]
29. September
Global | Thursday, 29. September 2022 | Online

UNCCD - International conference: Forestry science for sustainable development

To mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Faculty of Forestry, University of Banja Luka and 30 years of PFE "Šume Republike Srpske" ad Sokolac, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and The International Union for Conservation of Nature , is organizing an international scientific conference FORS²D under the theme "Perspectives of forestry and related sectors as drivers of sustainable development in the post-COVID era".


Resources Land Governance [ID: 655]




Strategic alliances between business, government and civil society are a growing feature of both developed and emerging economies.

Members – subheadline [ID: 656]


The group currently has members from:

Logo Table [ID: 657]
Contact Land Governance [ID: 658]

Contact | Co-Chair

Karol Boudreaux


protected email

Contact | Co-Chair

Caleb Stevens


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Contact | Vice-Chair

Frits van der Wal

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Netherlands

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Contact | Vice-Chair

Gemma Betsema

Netherlands Enterprise Agency (

protected email