On July 30, the Global Donor Working Group on Land was officially announced. The group is comprised of bilateral and multilateral donors and development agencies committed to improving coordination and information sharing to enhance the effectiveness of development programs that focus on land governance. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) will serve as the group’s inaugural chair. The donor working group is facilitated by the secretariat of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development.
As the group notes, “the combination of sharp increases in food prices starting in 2008 and continued volatility, together with the rapid expansion of land use for biofuels and growing concerns over climate change have led to a strong increase in interest in land in emerging-economy countries.” This increasing pressure on land has created development challenges for many countries. The Global Donor Working Group on Land was created to help respond to these challenges by improving land governance through enhanced coordination of donor-funded programs, increased information sharing of best practices and lessons learned, and better coordination in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.
The group’s objectives are:
- Improve exchange of information and lessons learned among donors and donor networks on land (main focus: tenure, governance, rural and urban);
- Improve donor coordination on land governance at the international level (building on local, national and regional coordination), for example to build consensus around critical or emerging issues and international processes, and promote a value-added and synergetic approach between national, regional and international coordination;
- Agree on joint action where suitable, on a case by case basis, for example in the context of the interaction with other land-related networks and platforms, such as the Committee on Food Security (CFS), International Land Coalition (ILC), African Union Land Policy Initiative (AU LPI), Global Land Tools Network (GLTN), G8/G20 and other stakeholders.
Dr. Gregory Myers, USAID Division Chief, Land Tenure and Property Rights, says “We are seeing increasing recognition by policy makers, donors, civil society, and the media that land governance is central to economic growth, food security, and sustainable development. Stronger land tenure and property rights create incentives for investment and trade and contribute to job growth and global prosperity. Between USAID and MCC, we are investing in 53 land governance programs in 32 countries in support of these key objectives. USAID welcomes the launch of the Global Donor Working Group on Land as a tool to help address these issues. We support this effort to enhance donor communication and coordination, improve transparency, and identify opportunities to leverage resources for maximum impact.”