Advocacy for Good Governance of Natural Resources

Increased Use of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines


In 2016, Green Scenery, with support of FAO, initiated a series of workshops to reinforce the capacities of Civil Societies to promote the UN’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.


 

Introduction:

Green Scenery carried out sensitization, public awareness and capacity building activities for and with civil society and community-based member organizations of the national land rights network Action for Large-Scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT) in all of Sierra Leone’s regions. With well equipped useful skills and knowledge, Green Scenery trained and prepared ALLAT members to replicate and continue advocacy for the development of an appropriate policy, legal and organizational framework on the right to land and other natural resources.

In addition, the strengthening of the voice of civil society and communities in the implementation of the VGGT renders their participation in the Government led process and their monitoring efforts regarding large scale land investments in the country more effective. Furthermore, in this project, Green Scenery used and applied differential techniques and means to continue its integrated advocacy on best practices of agriculture, forestry and fisheries at the macro, meso and micro levels nationwide.

By providing guidance and information on how to improve tenure governance, the so-called VGGT seek to contribute not only to food security, poverty eradication and sustainable livelihoods, but also to environmental protection and sustainable economic development. The Government of Sierra Leone signed the VGGT in 2012, therewith committing to the promotion and implementation of the Guidelines in accordance with national priorities and contexts.

Even though Sierra Leone is a pilot country in implementing the VGGT, many tenure problems in the country still arise from weak governance and inadequate and insecure tenure rights to land and other natural resources. Since 2009, over 1.1 million hectares of arable land has been leased for large-scale agri-businesses (Oakland Institute, 2013). The Government claims that such investments will help boost exports and employment in the country, but by focusing mostly on oil palm and sugar cane for the production of ethanol and palm oil respectively, the industrial plantations tend to put the country’s subsistence farmers at risk of food insecurity and deprived livelihoods. Civil society groups including Green Scenery and ALLAT criticize the drive towards large-scale land investments, warning that social tension arising from an increase in vulnerability, hunger and poverty may lead to a return of violent conflicts and to environmental degradation when competing users fight for control of natural resources.

Finally, the implementation of this project complemented the drive of the Sierra Leone Government in the achievement of the sustainable development goals by 2030.


Activities and Achievements:

To strengthen the voice of civil societies and communities in the implementation of the VGGT, Green Scenery conducted:

  • A 4-day workshop on Training of Trainers (TOT) on the VGGT and the new National Land Policy in Freetown. This activity targeted 25 people from different civil society organizations all over Sierra Leone. To enable mutual learning, 3 international participants from Liberia also took part in the Training.
  • Four 3-day workshops replication trainings were done at regional level to strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) to contribute to the implementation of the VGGT in the country and to raise awareness on the provisions of the National Land Policy. 20 participants (from different institutions) were targeted in each of the regions, summing up to 80 participants in all. These trainings were set to improve participants' knowledge in the rolling out of the VGGT and NLP at local levels.
  • Another four stakeholder- sensitization workshops were done in all regions of the country (1 in each region). The target group for this activity were principally local authorities (i.e. the traditional leaders, local government, etc.). The objectives of these workshops was to raise stakeholder's awareness on the VGGT and the provisions of the National Land Policy.
  • Five 15-minutes-radio-programmes on the VGGT were established and broadcasted (one each for the national and provincial trainings) to sensitize citizens about the VGGT and the provisions of the new National Land Policy.
  • One video of the capacity development workshops was recorded and presented at the 3rd VGGT Multi-Stakeholder Platform Workshop in Freetown in July 2016. In this workshop, a list of recommendations formulated during the Trainings was compiled and presented to the VGGT Multi-Stakeholder Platform in Freetown, July 2016.

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Duration: 2016
Donor: Food and Agricultural Organization of the united Nations (FAO)
Implementing Partners: Green Scenery and other Action for Large-scale Land  Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT) 

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Document Category: 
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