The Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL) is a network of twenty-nine bi- and multilateral donors and international organisations cooperating on land governance issues worldwide, facilitated by the Donor Platform. The GDWGL was established by the global donor community in 2013 in response to the sharp and volatile increases in food prices that began in 2008.
These spikes, combined with the rapid expansion of land use for biofuels and growing concerns over climate change, led to a growing demand for land in emerging-economy countries. Land was often acquired at large scales from people in rural settings by various international and domestic private and public investors in countries with weak land governance. This prompted many governments and development partners to increase their efforts to address land tenure and resource governance issues in these countries.
A landmark result of this effort was 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) by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in 2012. The VGGT is the first internationally negotiated and agreed soft-law instrument on the governance of land tenure.
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 on the implementation of the VGGT. In this manner, the GDWGL helps to better facilitate knowledge sharing amongst donors dedicated to land governance and has strongly advocated for a substantial role of tenure issues in the Agenda 2030. The GDWGL praised the inclusion of land indicators under the Sustainable Development Goals to alleviate poverty, enhance gender equality, and promote sustainable cities and communities, and has been instrumental in the process of raising the importance of the indicators from Tier II to Tier I.
The core functions of the GDWGL are to allow for better coordination and knowledge exchange on land governance programmes, as well as to jointly advocate the relevance of land issues in policy processes which affect international development. The Global Donor Working Group on Land is a network of twenty-four bi- and multilateral donors and international organisations cooperating on land-related issues worldwide, facilitated by the Donor Platform and currently chaired by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.