By Tim Fella, Land Tenure and Conflict Advisor, USAID.
On October 15, I had the honor of presenting an updated version of the Global Donor Working Group on Land’s program database and map at a side event at the 41st plenary of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The Global Donor Working Group on Land is a coalition of 23 donors and development agencies, including USAID, that are committed to improving information sharing, coordination, and collaboration in support of the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).
At the CFS side event, the Working Group had the opportunity to receive feedback from civil society and private sector representatives, on the program database and the group’s new 3-year road map. The representatives stressed the importance of connecting our efforts with theirs – sharing information and deepening linkages not just among donors, but among all stakeholders in the land sector: governments, civil society and the private sector.
Over the past year, we have made great strides in improving coordination among various stakeholders on this issue. As a result, we now have a comprehensive database of 554 land and resource governance programs funded by 16 donors and development agencies in 150 countries with a total value of approximately $4.6 billion. The interactive map of the information in the database, which clearly displays where different donors and development agencies are working and what they are working on, is a useful tool for stakeholders in the land sector to track activities, monitor progress, avoid duplication, and identify opportunities for greater synergy. Among other future enhancements, we will be exploring opportunities to link the information in this database with other data sets on land tenure and looking into common data standards and platforms for sharing all types of information on land and resource governance.
We recognize that while the creation of this Working Group and the program database are important achievements, they are only initial steps toward our ultimate goals: improving development partner coordination to deliver results on the ground in terms of more secure land tenure and property rights, enhanced food security, and better management of natural resources.
As incoming Vice Chair of the Working Group, USAID will continue to work with our partners to support greater coordination among stakeholders, refine and expand the program database, and develop new tools, programs and resources that move us all closer to realizing the promise of the VGGT.