During the Donor Roundtable Meeting in Washington on the margins of the annual land conference at the World Bank on 12 April 2013, participants agreed to establish a new Global Donor Working Group on Land facilitated by the secretariat of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development. The Working Group aims to improve land governance and enhance transparency and coordination of its currently 24 bilateral and multilateral members with each other and with external government, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders. Its objectives are to improve information, lesson learning and coordination at the international level, highlight challenges around land governance, and agree on joint actions wherever suitable.
The Chair is to be held on a rotating basis by one of the participating organisations. The current chairmanship (until October 2016) is held by the United States of America (USAID).
The combination of sharp increases in food prices starting in 2008 and continued volatility, together with the rapid expansion of land use for biofuels and growing concerns over climate change have led to a strong increase in interest in land in emerging-economy countries. This has prompted many governments and development partners to increase their efforts to address land tenure and resource governance issues in developing countries. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) were endorsed in May 2012 by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The VGGT are the first internationally negotiated and agreed soft-law instrument on the governance of land tenure. The G8 Summit under the US Presidency in 2012 supported implementation of the VGGT, and the G8 in 2013 under the UK Presidency launched a "Land Transparency Initiative" with country pilot partnerships in seven developing countries to implement the VGGT and, more broadly, strengthen land governance and property rights. This, combined with efforts from multilateral and regional organizations to promote greater land transparency, has led to an agreement to support better coordination of implementation of land governance programmes and information sharing on best practices by the international community. A Global Donor Working Group on Land has been created to support improved delivery in a climate of heightened attention, need and awareness of existing challenges and lessons. The working group is supported through the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development.
In 2014, under the inaugural chairmanship by DFID, the Global Donor Working Group on Land developed its 3-year road map for 2014-2017, with the following objectives:
Initial members of the group are the members of the existing EU Working Group on Land (ADA, AFD, BMEL, BMZ, DFID, EC, GIZ, MoFA-Austria, MoFA-Denmark, MoFA-Finland, MoFA-France, MoFA-Netherlands, SDC, Sida) and FAO, JICA, IFAD, MCC, USAID, DFATD-Canada, UN-HABITAT and WB who agreed at the Donor Roundtable Meeting in Washington at the World Bank on 12 April 2013 to establish the Global Donor Working Group on Land. Afterwards IFC also joined the group.
Members of the Global Donor Working Group on Land meet physically at least once a year back to back with major land related events, e.g. the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in April and the session of The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in October. Meetings may also be agreed to be held more flexibly as required.
Between the physical meetings the group meets regularly as needed. This will happen online or via telephone conference call.
All meetings are organized and facilitated by the secretariat of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, carrying out decisions taken by Members, and at the request of and with process agreed with the Chair.