FAO conducts training on VGGTs for members of parliament

Creating awareness
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, conducted a voluntary two-day training session for members of parliament on Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure
Nikanor Nangolo
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, on Friday, conducted a two-day training session for members of parliament.

The training session hosted under the theme "Responsible Governance of Land and Natural Resources for Food Security and Nutrition" and facilitated by land governance and tenure experts from FAO, took place at the Plaza Hotel in Swakopmund.

The training provided an introduction to the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT), with the aim of creating awareness among lawmakers and government official on key VGGT principles to be considered when land tenure governance laws, policies and institutional frameworks are developed or reviewed during the implementation phase of the resolutions of the second National Land Conference held in 2018.

FAO representative Ferdinard Mwapopi hailed the workshop on the VGGT as a clear testimony of a solid partnership. "The VGGTs are the first global agreement on governance of tenure reached by consensus in May 2012 by the World Committee on Food Security (CFS) after its development through an inclusive process of regional consultations held from 2009-2010 in Brazil, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Jordan, Namibia, Panama, Romania, the Russian Federation, Samoa and Vietnam."

Mwapopi explained that VGGTs are an international instrument that can be used by many different actors to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests. "They serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for the practices of responsible governance of tenure. While the guidelines place primary responsibility oft heir application on governments, relevant stakeholders can also use this international instrument to assert the tenure rights of their constituents such as communities, indigenous groups, or other marginalized populations."

He pointed out that the VGGTs are voluntary and therefore not legally binding. "They do not replace existing national laws or international laws, commitments, treaties or agreements. We hope that this workshop will not be another event but will lead to sustainable outcomes in supporting the operationalisation and mainstreaming of VGGTs into Namibian laws. You can rest assured of FAO’s support in the transformation to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life, leaving no one behind."

Member of Parliament and deputy chairperson of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Agnes Kafula emphasised the the importance of VGGts for Namibia. "Their overarching goals are to achieve food security for all and support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development," she said.

She welcomed the initiative by FAO to conduct VGGT training sessions for lawmakers and officials from relevant ministries engaged in the governance of land tenure. She also encouraged the members to peruse documents which are available electronically and to make use of them as guides when dealing with land administration.

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