Are you new to the concept of multi-actor Partnerships (MAPs) in land governance? You are not alone. Last week we finished a training supported by CSA on MAPs . Participants from Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone learned what is important when you start a MAP, what is relevant for strengthening it, what is needed to engage all relevant actors and to achieve your joint ambition. During six sessions, we discussed 7 principles of MAP:
Starting with Principle 1: Change through Dialogue, at the core of any partnership stands dialogue. Transformative change can be achieved by bringing together all relevant actors in a trustful environment, facilitating collective learning and dialogue, and encouraging collaboration. Principle 2 emphasized that you need to understand the land governance actor landscape before you start creating your MAP. – Are there already existing spaces where actors coordinate and collaborate on land policy? Or has there been such a space in the past, but it ceased to exist for some reason? Getting the full picture will make sure that relevant experiences are considered and duplication is avoided.
Partnerships with multiple actors can be a messy thing. On this note, Principle 3 emphasizes on structuring your MAP well. It is important to understand how the different actors play together, who has which strengths, and who will fulfill which tasks. Dividing roles and responsibilities clearly will help you prevent internal struggles in the future.
Principle 4 on Identifying the most Relevant Change Objectives in your Context indicates the importance to focus. – What is the most relevant process where your MAP can make a difference? It might make sense to start small, generating a quick win to demonstrate the “yes we can”, and grow your ambitions over time. This connects to Principle 5: Use existing International Standards and Principles to Influence, meaning that changes of policies and legislation can be achieved by referring to an internationally established consensus of responsible land governance. The VGGT provide detailed guidance on a broad area of land governance related topics (The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security).
To make the whole mission a success, Principle 6: Create a Culture of Empathy and Collaboration, and Principle 7: Act-Reflect-Learn in an Agile Way stress the importance of culture. Creating understanding for each other and finding ways to continuously work and reflect together will make you successful in the long run. Reflecting on what you have and have not achieved, and what you learned, will provide you with the insights to move forward.
To practice continuous reflection and learning, each country team came together in between sessions to jointly look into the MAP process in their country – analyzing it through the lens of one of the 7 principles. Many very good insights emerged that will pave the way forward. Thank you everybody for sharing your inputs, thoughts, and comments. It was a pleasure. Until next time!