FAO, Partners Hold VGGT Implementation Forum in Monrovia

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Monrovia –  Representatives from two West African Countries including Liberia and Sierra Leone are gathering in Monrovia from 3rd to 7th April 2017 to hold a five-day institutional capacity development training on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).

Organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the Government of Liberia, the training brings together elders, chiefs, including representatives from civil society organizations, Land Authority, Ministry of Agriculture, the media as well as academics

The five day exercise will provide participants the opportunity to identify, inform and prioritize suggestions on what actions should be taken in order to strengthen the Responsible Governance of Tenure.

During the opening session, the Country Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Marc Abdala called for collective efforts in the implementation of the VGGT in the region.

Mr. Abdala said in implementing the VGGT, “No one should be left behind” adding that the government, civil society organizations, the private sector, chiefs, elders, women, youth, children and the communities should be on board.

“As we move towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, we should consider instituting good governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests to achieve a better result. Mr. Abdala uses the occasion to admonish participants to play a critical role to ensure that they serve as agents of change in the process of implementing the VGGT. 

Speaking on behalf of the Agriculture Minister Dr. Moses Zinnah, Deputy Agriculture Minister for Development and Planning, Dr. Charles McClain expressed enthusiasm that the exercise is aligned with the Liberia Agriculture Transformation Agenda (LATA) which addresses the issue of food insecurity.

Dr. McClain stated that the Government of Liberia is not looking at agriculture as subsistence farming only, but also the value addition activities that will improve the livelihoods of farmers. He added that: “Our agriculture transformation agenda includes the responsible governance of not only the tenure of land, but also fisheries and forests.”

He said the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture remains committed in working with sector partners in the development of the agriculture sector of Liberia.

Also speaking, Dr. Othello Brandy, Chairman of the Land Authority called on the relevant authority to speedily pass the Land Rights Act that will serve as a vital tool and guide to enable the smooth implementation of the VGGT throughout the country.

The VGGT sets out principles and internationally accepted standards for Responsible Governance of Tenure. It provides a framework that stakeholders can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation and programmes.

The VGGT also allows government authorities, the private sector, civil society and citizens to judge whether proposed actions constitute acceptable practices.

It also provides useful guidance for tackling a number of constraints observed in several sectors including the lack of understanding of existence policies and legislation among experts and the general public leading to poor implementation and enforcement, lack of harmonization of existing policies and legal frameworks leading to uncoordinated implementation.

At the end of the forum, it is expected that participants will acquire knowledge on how the VGGT can be applied countrywide and at regional level; how the VGGT can be rolled out in project implementation and the different roles of private sectors, government, CSOs and the Media 

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