Module: Land Governance

Sunday, 29 April

Monday, 30 April

Tuesday, 1 May

Wednesday, 2 May

Thursday, 3 May



reporting (cont.)


and M4P




4. Land Governance

Summary Report PDF, 482 KB

Programme and background Papers

1. Input paper on land governance and programme PDF, 182 KB

2. Explanation of contributions required by the participants PDF, 95 KB

3. Participants list for the land governance day PDF, 113 KB

4. Final draft of the Voluntary Guidelines of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the. context of National Food Security PDF, 166 KB

Presentations at F2F

1. SDC interventions in the land governance sector at the global level PDF, 262 KB

2. SDC Interventions in Land Governance PDF, 717 KB

3. Land governance as a global concern: setting the scene PDF, 1.6 MB

4. Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (FAO) PDF, 1.5 MB

5. Experiences from managing open access rangelands in Mongolia PDF, 324 KB

6. land governance in Mozambique pictures PDF, 492 KB

7. Land Governance Pastoralism Sahel Pictures PDF, 369 KB

8. Land in Lao PDR Pictures PDF, 369 KB

8. Land issue in Burundi pictures PDF, 500 KB

The glass is more than half full!

Plenary discussion on the Voluntary Guidelines (VG)
The focus/reflection on the VG is currently more on the weaknesses of the VG. No doubt, there are weaknesses, but there are also many positive sides to them as well. Land tenure is one of the most conflicting issues worldwide, having these commonly (after all, half the worlds countries were contributing to them) agreed upon guidelines now in our hands is a huge step into the right direction – The glass is more than half full!
The fact, that they the guidelines are voluntary is a good thing – as they are not normative it is actually possible to take them to governments in our partner countries as a suggesting document which they can read, reflect on, take up and talk about the issue. This way it is possible to create ownership and not provoke a defensive attitude. The important thing is to pick the elements from the VG which are convergent with the governments politics. Basically there is no other option than such voluntary guidelines to address the topic on a larger scale.
However, it is clear, to have the VG is nice, but there is the need now to go one step further, to add to it, e.g. something like “a voluntary implementation guide of the VG”. The VG are not the end but an important means towards better land tenure. The VG have to be pushed, it is needed to continue the effort and we need to try to create a trickledown effect.
Next stepts for the GPFS and the AFS Network:
  • Following the international discussion and the implementation of the VG
  • The network will summarize the findings from the different working groups which will maybe lead to an e-discussion on the topic in the nearer future
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Reactions on the plenary…

“Land tenure is a source of conflict in many parts of the world. To have reached a consensus and have create voluntary guidelines is a huge success.”

-Tina Goethe

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Plenary with Dr. Babette Wehrmann, FAO

“Make use of the voluntary guidelines whenever/wherever you can! Make a link with the already approved conventions,  look what you can get out of it.”

-Babette Wehrmann, FAO

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Voluntary guidelines address several critical issues…

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Concrete Situations on Using Voluntary Guidelines

1. Pastoralism

Where can voluntary guidelines can be introduced or instrumentalized?

  • Land use planning processes
  • Advocacy: claiming compensation, protect customary rights
  • Lobby for better laws

2. Small-holders vs. Investors

How can we get from a win-loose situation to a  win-win situation for all? Investment should not be stopped, but regulated in a way for smallholders to profit as well.”

3. Land rights of women and minority groups

Prominently addressed in the voluntary guidelines. Women and minorities in many parts of the world have the most serious land-access issues.

4. Multifunctionality of family farmers

There is potential to conserve multifunctional agriculture by securing land tenure rights.”

5. Land tenure and administration

Need to decide upon one territorial systems, but depends on the country.

6. Dealing with the government

It’s not about forbidding, it’s about regulating.”

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FAO Voluntary Guidelines

The FAO Voluntary Guidelines have been elaborated on the basis of a very complete consultation process. They will be approved and endorsed in May 2012. They are on-time and needed more than ever, but this is not the end of the story. The real hard work lies ahead. Don’t expect an easy trickle-down.

How can we make these voluntary guideline principles be taken up in national legislation and law enforcement?

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Mapping of Land Governance

Inform yourself on current SDC land governance projects:

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Land governance experiences


Main land issues in Laos: land concessions made for mining, rubber industry. Small-scale coffee farmers in the south are being displaced.           “Please don’t use our country as your garden!”

“Turning land into capital: What is the benefit for the country and its rural population?”

Mongolia: Managing open access rangeland

70% of the rangeland is degradated (mostly due to human-related causes)

How to address this problem?

  • Regulate open access
  • Reduce stocking rate
  • Legal protection for herders’ customary rights

SDC interventios –> Organizing pasture user groups, planning rangeland use, internal regulation, establishing agreements



Since 1995 land-use policies are in place, after a long and difficult political situation. Concessions have been given to large corporations, through consultation processes and advocacy groups more attention is given to land grabbing and land-issue conflicts.


Burundi is a small, mountainous and land-locked country with a high population density (300 inhabitants/ sq/km). There is also a high pressure on land due to return of refugees. 80% of the disputes in courts are land-related. Since 2007 SDC has been working at the local level, making a land inventory, and strengthening local capacity. The descentralization of land management is important, as well as supporting economic activities at the local level. It’s the only way to secure access to land.


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SDC Interventions in Land Governance

Land governance:

  • Land is a basic livelihood asset
  • Land is more than fields and soil
  • Access to land (and water) is important: Having access to land should not be synonymous with having a tenure title.

SDC supports:

1. Voluntary guidelines on governance of land tenure

2. International Land Coalition (ILC) and associated projects

3. Processes for private sector voluntary standards

4. Facilitation of process to develop principles for responsible agricultural investments

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Land Governance as a Global Concern

“Humans’ ability to do has outstripped their ability to understand.”

Land rush is real!” – Peter Messerli, CDE, University of Bern

Target countries were land deals are made have several characteristics:

1. Investors compete directly with farming communities

2. Cropland and forest land is where land consessions are made

3. Land is close to the markets (aprox. 1 day of travel)

Dimensions of Land Use

What is the task of land governance?

  • “Domesticate” benefits (create employment, improve market access)
  • Mititgate risks (transparency, reconstruction, social displacement)
  • Resolve conflists (diffuse time-bomb)
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