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#5 from 2016: Land Tenure: What have we learned four years after approving a set of international land tenure guidelines?

Gregory Myers's picture
Our Top Ten blog posts by readership in 2016. This post was originally published on June 13, 2016.  

 
Asilya Gemmal displays her land certificate, given by
the Ethiopian government, with USAID assistance.
"Congratulations, today your baby is four years old,” Iris Krebber, DFID/UK recently emailed me.  Iris was not referring to a child, but rather the Voluntary Guidelines for the Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forest (VGGT), an agreement I had the challenging pleasure of bringing to life by chairing a UN negotiation process that resulted in the first globally agreed recommendations for addressing land, fisheries, and forests governance.  Often colleagues don’t remember my name, but they call me “the land guy,” which I suppose is better than the “dirt guy.”

The call for an international set of guidelines came from many quarters between 2008 and 2010, but was largely driven by concerns raised in international fora by civil society, member states, development partners, and the private sector. These concerns primarily pertained to food security (and specifically food price spikes) and access, and rights to land and other resources by small, medium and large scale producers as they impact investments in food production systems.  
 
One of the more notable concerns driving the development of the Guidelines was related to large scale land acquisitions (including what some organizations may sometimes refer to as “land grabbing”). Through a technical process FAO developed the initial draft of the Guidelines, and then initiated a process of input and consultation over two years before the document was given to the UN Committee for World Food Security (UN CFS) for negotiation.

As the subject of land rights can be very political (no international guidance can address the plethora of land challenges from Latin America to Africa to Asia and beyond with one-solution fits-all-problems), and civil society organizations, member states, and the private sector often have different views and needs in achieving their respective objectives, you can imagine it was not an easy task for CFS to agree to a set of guidelines.

How Would You #TakeOn Corruption and Promote Good Governance?

Ravi Kumar's picture
Corruption greatly undermines government effectiveness.
Source: futureatlas.com

Also available in: Español | Français | Arabic  

On a hot dry day in June, a woman in her early 40s is getting ready for journey to a nearby town. She is excited even though she will walk more than three hours on foot—she is going to meet with a government loan officer to try to get the money she needs to buy fertilizer and other supplies for her farm. She needs to grow and sell enough crops to pay for her son to continue school for the next year.
 
She gets a mug of water from a bucket to put out the open wood fire that she uses to cook meals for her family. Then she pulls her slippers from the thatched roof and leaves her hut.
 
As she walks, she feels hopeful. She believes this loan will change her family’s future. For the past 6 months, she has made numerous trips to this office because the government official had told her that before her application could be considered, the paperwork must be accurate and complete.  

5 Things You Need to Know about Open Government

Ravi Kumar's picture


The Internet is abuzz with articles and commentary on how to make government more open. Open government benefits us all. The end result makes governments efficient and responsive, ultimately improving citizens’ lives. Here are some simple answers to questions on open government. Of course, a list like this always needs a disclaimer: This article doesn’t provide you a comprehensive understanding of the open government movement. But it’s a start.

What’s the Relationship between Youth, Open Government, and Development?

Felipe Estefan's picture
Youth demand openness
Percentage of youth who said they want their government to be more open. Source: Global Opening Government Survey

We live in a time unlike any other in our history.
 
Today, many more of us have more tools to more quickly exchange more knowledge and expertise than ever before.