Internationally, the Netherlands is rather active in the field of land governance and food security. On one hand, the Dutch have a long-standing expertise in the different aspects of land governance and on the other hand, food security is one of the main themes of the Dutch international development agenda. A great deal of knowledge exists on the link between land governance and food security, yet it is not always clear where to find updated information or how it can be used or how it can be adapted to the country-specific contexts by decision makers and development practitioners. The capacity development trajectories are aimed to make this expertise and information widely available, to translate available knowledge into policy and practice in partner countries of the Netherlands, and to enable mutual exchange and learning between countries.
Learning trajectories Uganda, Ghana & Ethiopia
In 2015, three (pilot) trajectories have been rolled out respectively in Uganda (October 26-30), Ghana (November 23-27) and Ethiopia (December 7-11). The meetings were organized by LANDac, the F&BKP and partner organizations in these three countries and between 20 to 25 professionals working on issues of land governance and food security in their home countries were in participation. Contributors were from the fields of academia, NGOs, multi-lateral organizations, national and local governments, farmers organizations, the Netherlands Embassy and the private sector.
The four-day learning and exchange events provided participants and their organizations with knowledge to better handle issues of land governance and food security in their countries by studying, exchanging and discussing the complex linkages between the two topics. This was done through presentations given by local experts, by field visits to land-based investments and local government offices, and by developing action plans for their respective organizations.
In the three countries, communities working on land issues and those working on food security and livelihood-related topics appeared to be largely separate communities. Participants appreciated the learning events as that these two communities were brought together by linking the discussions around land to discussions of food security, both between and within sectors. Local expertise in research and practice were linked together with global debates and available knowledge and information from the Netherlands and other countries working in the field. Context is key in uncovering the complex linkages between land governance and food security in these three countries. By better sharing available knowledge as well as bringing together different stakeholders within countries, these particular strategies could be employed when addressing food security through better land governance.
As a result, preliminary outcomes included the establishment of a private sector NGO exchange forum in Uganda, the setting up of a knowledge platform in Ghana and draft guidelines and recommendations for Dutch investors in Ghana on how to increase land governance and food security in their activities. Main outcomes and lessons learned from the three country trajectories have been shared amongst the participants.
Reflection & main findings
This reflection paper brings together the main findings and outcomes to provide policy recommendations for improved land governance and food security in Africa.
The three events, held in 2015, focused on topics of land governance and food security and the linkages between the two in the different countries. The learning trajectories, organized jointly with partner organizations, each drew between 20 and 25 professionals who currently work on issues of land governance and food security in their home countries. Participants were from academia, NGOs, multi-lateral organizations, national and local governments, farmers’ organizations, the Netherlands Embassy and the private sector.
Through joint study, exchange and discussion on the complex linkages between land governance and food security, as well as presentations given by local experts, by field visits to land-based investments and local government offices, and by developing action plans for their respective organizations, the four-day learning and exchange events provided participants and their organizations with knowledge and tools to better deal with issues of land governance and food security.
The reflection paper introduces a number of key concepts, highlights main outcomes and cases from the three events, and provides policy recommendations based on the findings.
To link land governance and food security, we present four areas of focus:
Recommendations center on creating better linkages between policies and actions that aim to improve land governance and food security. One example is to establish stronger connections between land administration and land use planning for local food security. By realizing that land administration does not automatically lead to enhanced land tenure security or improved food security, attention should be given to fit-for-purpose land administration practices which take into account local contexts and consider the outcomes, especially for vulnerable groups. Businesses can also play a role by taking into account the local food security impacts of their investments and including mechanisms to enhance food security in CSR strategies. In all of this, women’s participation and ownership, access to and use of land are crucial for positive and sustainable outcomes in terms of food security.
LANDac and its partners will continue to engage in this and related areas by continuing our research agenda, by developing a number of land governance and food security learning hubs, and by generating opportunities for interaction between researchers, practitioners, policy makers and businesses on issues of land governance and food security.
Image top page: ©Romy Santpoort