Taking Stock, Raising Awareness and Commitment for the Further Implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT)
by Mulugeta Gadissa
The adoption 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 for World Food Security (CFS) on 11 May 2012, represents a historical milestone of international development policy. It has been ten years since the endorsement of VGGT, and Land for Life Ethiopia organized a national-level dialogue on the 10th Anniversary of the VGGT on October 14/2022 at Elilly International Hotel, in Addis Ababa. The dialogue brought together different relevant actors from various constituencies, including governmental representatives, civil society, the private sector, development partners, academia, community representatives, media houses, and others.
The national dialogue began by delivering a welcoming and opening remark by Mellese Damtie (Ph.D.) and briefly explained the VGGT+10 Initiative and the relevance of the dialogue to the ongoing work on the governance of tenure in Ethiopia and by the national multi-stakeholder platform. Following, the facilitator explained the objectives of the dialogue, and the agenda, introduce the speakers and set expectations and norms/rules.
Two papers were presented during the event:- the VGGT and the state of governance of tenure in Ethiopia, and the light country assessment. The first paper was presented by Mr. Bezualem Bekele and he briefly presented the background to the VGGT, their principles, how, when, and where adopted and the objectives of having them. The presentation is an eye-opening that could serve as a reference and provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries, and forests with the overarching goal of achieving food security for all and supporting the progressive realization of the rights to adequate food in the context of national food security.
The other presentation (presented by Mr. Bulcha Berecha) was focused on the light country assessment that mainly gives an overview of governance of tenure and the state of the VGGT implementation in the country.
The dialogue was also accompanied by the presentation of personas affected by rights abuses and challenges in the land governance systems, which created empathy. These personas are smallholder farmers and pastoralist which came from Batu, Modjo, Sebeta, and Kereyu areas.
The national dialogue created an opportunity to raise awareness of the VGGT and the importance of governance of tenure, and through the deliberation made during the event, different priority governance of tenure and action steps were identified to be taken forward. Some of these action steps are: – the creation of awareness on VGGT and other land laws at national and regional levels, public consultation, intensive capacity development intervention, strengthening strong collaboration among stakeholders, and others.
Land for Life Ethiopia would like to express its appreciation to participants for their valuable input, enthusiasm, and positive spirit that helped make our time together both productive and fun.