Government committed to VGGT implementation
June 10, 2016 By Alusine Sesay
Adopting a communiqué on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) in the context of national food security, stakeholders from various sectors on Wednesday, at the Family Kingdom Hotel, agreed that the Government of Sierra Leone was fully committed to the implementation of the document and that there were ongoing efforts to improve tenure governance in the land, forestry and fisheries sectors in the country.
The process of implementing the VGGT was launched in 2014 through technical support from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany, with focus on land, fisheries and forestry, and other cross-cutting issues including gender, grievance recourse mechanism and legal framework.
The Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security are aimed at helping governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries. A multi-stakeholder platform was established in 2014 in order to ensure ownership, broad participation and political buy–in.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation, with support from the German Government, organised a multi-stakeholders workshop to review and reflect on the VGGT implementation process so far, identify lessons learnt, good practices as well as emerging challenges, and to further discuss sustaining national ownership.
At the closing ceremony of the workshop on 8 June, stakeholders recommended the adoption of a holistic approach in reforming laws by reviewing the legal framework other than looking at the individual legislations and instruments, stating that the development of adequate laws was key to ensuring that recommendations and policies are binding.
They further recommended the establishment of appropriate technologies to adopt a centralised parcel-based registration system, citing Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Botswana and Mozambique where such practice was being utilised.
The stakeholders also recommended the taking of appropriate steps to ensuring community level validation for feedbacks to be heard and integrated into the reform process.
They again recommended the inclusive participation of women, private sector, land owners and users, youth and farmers, as well improved accountability of the different stakeholders involved in large-scale land acquisition by streamlining processes, clarifying rights and responsibilities, and increasing enforcement capacity.
They recommended the enhancement of political commitment to sustain the implementation of the VGGT, establishment of institutional framework to guide National Land Policy implementation, engendering of land laws and development of operationalised mechanism to foster monitoring, evaluation, impact assessment and reporting on progress in the implementation of the document.