Land Governance

Land Governance

You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people.
- Wangari Maathai
Land-based ecosystems are fundamental pillars of our wellbeing. However, their resilience is increasingly threatened by the growing demand for food, housing, energy and other ecosystem services. Building on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of Food Security as an overarching framework, we work to promote the rights of all land users as an important precondition for sustainable and inclusive development.  
Our work involves analyzing structural barriers that hinder land users from enjoying their legitimate rights. Together with our partners, we explore context-specific solutions and innovations to overcome these barriers. This includes supporting governments in providing the necessary services to their citizens, and supporting right holders in claiming their legitimate rights. Building on the insights gained, we support the development of monitoring tools to increase transparency and accountability within the land sector, and to track the implementation of national and international commitments. Our approach can be described as multi-level changemaking to democratize food systems, end chronic poverty and food insecurity and restoring ecosystems.
We work simultaneously across the following three levels:
  • Local level: We create space and strengthen community-based organizations and sub-national governance institutions to co-develop social innovations for land tenure security.
  • National level: We work with governments, human rights institutions, and civil society networks to support the implementation of progressive national policies, also by building on progress made in global policy processes.
  • Global level: Through our broad research and policy networks we actively engage in identifying policy spaces and agenda setting to ensure that these ideas can be taken up and integrated into formal decision making and implementation. A core focus of our work is the integration of land tenure in the implementation of the three Rio Conventions.

Latest

Just Transformations - TMG @ COP 15
News
Just Transformations - TMG @ COP 15
IISD recap of one of our events in Montreal

Topics

Land, Gender and Human Rights

Land, Gender and Human Rights

Improving rights-based land governance with innovative tools

It is broadly acknowledged that the lack of land tenure security is a key barrier, not only to improved food security and sustainable land management practices at the farm level, but also for the restoration of ecosystems and resilience to climate change. While most countries have legal frameworks in place to recognize claims to land, both at individual and community level, enforcement remains weak. Despite their significant contribution to food security, and farm-based livelihoods, women are particularly disadvantaged due to the dominance of patriarchy and other unequal socio-cultural values in determining the ownership of land and other productive resources.

Projects

Multi-level changemaking: Our approach to strengthening responsible land governance

Multi-level changemaking: Our approach to strengthening responsible land governance

Bringing together diverse actors to strengthen policies and actions on responsible land governance

This body of work builds on TMG's flagship Global Soil Week programme, which aims to enable the protection of legitimate land tenure rights in the context of land degradation neutrality (LDN) measures and enabling smallholder farmers and local communities to contribute to the implementation of the UN Convention for Combating Desertification.[DB1] A key objective of the work is to mobilize partnerships to translate global policy frameworks and targets into feasible actions at the local level and leverage action research to improve global governance agendas.

Projects

Sustainable Land Management

Sustainable Land Management

Exploring social innovations at community level to foster sustainable land management practices

This thematic strand focuses on understanding the underlying socio-political dynamics and other structural challenges that smallholder farmers face in investing in sustainable land management practices. Based on locally-embedded research with our partners in several African countries, we develop, and pilot, "social innovations" to overcome structural obstacles. By sharing the insights gained with our broader networks of partners, as well as at various multilateral processes, we also seek to contribute to a systemic understanding of the enabling conditions for scaling up sustainable land management, at both the local and ecosystem levels.

News & Blog Posts

Just Transformations - TMG @ COP 15
News

Just Transformations - TMG @ COP 15

IISD recap of one of our events in Montreal
Podcast - COP 15 | Our last chance to reverse biodiversity loss
News

Podcast - COP 15 | Our last chance to reverse biodiversity loss

Think Sustainable Europe experts reflect on the ongoing COP
Just Biodiversity Transformations
News

Just Biodiversity Transformations

TMG and partners bring land rights agenda to CBD COP 15
Unlocking the potential of the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure in food system transformation
Blog Post

Unlocking the potential of the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure in food system transformation

A summary of the CFS 50 side event, Unlocking the potential of the VGGT through Land Degradation Neutrality
Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure (VGGT)
Blog Post

Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure (VGGT)

A Decade of the CFS VGGT: assessing progress and enhancing accountability
Land governance in Malawi: assessing the results of human rights-based monitoring initiatives
News

Land governance in Malawi: assessing the results of human rights-based monitoring initiatives

A workshop conveying multiple partners from civil society, academia and government

Publications

Transforming food systems from the bottom up

Info Brief

Transforming food systems from the bottom up

Larissa Stiem-Bhatia, Jes Weigelt and Kader Baba

How locally developed social innovations can strengthen enabling environments for soil restoration

Securing land access for smallholders

Info Brief

Securing land access for smallholders

William Onura, Serah Kiragu-Wissler, Larissa Stiem-Bhatia, Washe Kazungu, Violet Shivutse and Doreen Magotsi

How a community-led process is strengthening leasing rights in western Kenya

Technical Guide on the Integration of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security into the Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and LDN

Technical Guide

Technical Guide on the Integration of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security into the Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and LDN

FAO, UNCCD, TMG Research

TMG contributed to this technical guide that aims to inform policy and decision makers on the potential and means whereby which legitimate and secure tenure can accelerate progress towards LDN and other restoration commitments.

Videos

  • First Governor's Day with Farmers - Kakamega County, Kenya

    A novel approach aiming to bring farmers and agricultural policymakers closer together.

  • Tem Sesiabun Gorado - An innovative model for knowledge transfer

    A novel farmer-to-farmer knowledge transfer model

  • Tem Sesiabun Gorado - Un modèle innovateur de transfert de connaissances

    Un nouveau modèle de transfert de connaissances entre agriculteur·rice·s

  • Transforming food systems from the bottom up: Social innovations for soil restoration

    A conversation around land rights and agricultural transformation

  • No Sustainability Transition Without Securing Legitimate Land Rights - TMG @ COP 15

    TMG and partners bring "Rights to Land" agenda to COP 15

  • The Human Rights & Land Navigator

    A new instrument instrument for strengthening the application of the voluntary guidelines on tenure

  • The State of Land Degradation Neutrality in Madagascar

    Just Transitions towards Land Degradation Neutrality: Tenure Rights for Soil Restoration

  • Land-Food-Climate: An African-European Dialogue on Climate Resilience

    Teaser video for the "Land-Food-Climate: An African-European Dialogue on Climate Resilience" event series

  • Building Back Better and Greener with Agroecology

    A video marking the launch of the Transformative Partnership Platform (TPP) on agroecology

  • Agroecology for Adaptation - Systemic Challenges/Systemic Responses

    A video sharing perspectives from diverse experts on how to create an enabling environment to support smallholder-led innovations for climate change adaptation

Events

Learn more about our activities

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TMG Think Tank for Sustainability consists of TMG Research gGmbH, an independent, non-partisan, non-for-profit organisation registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 186018 B, USt.-ID: DE311653675) and TMG - Töpfer Müller Gaßner GmbH, a private company registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 186018 Bm USt.-ID: DE311653675).

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