Multi-stakeholder converge on VGGT

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Multi stakeholder connverge on VGGT

Multi stakeholder connverge on VGGT

two-day workshop on Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT). The VGGT is a project seeking to improve governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forest in the country and it is being supported by the UN Food and workshop on Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT).
The VGGT is a project seeking to improve governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forest in the country and it is being supported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with funding from the German Government.
At the ceremony which took place at the Shangri La Complex, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Frank Kargbo in his keynote address said the eradication of hunger and poverty and the sustainable use of the environment depends on how people and others gain access to land, fisheries and forests in the world as a whole.
In Sierra Leone, the Minister stated, most people especially those in the rural areas depend on these three sectors; land, fisheries and forests for their livelihoods and these people need a secure and equitable access and control of these sectors. Adding that over the years there has been lot of pressures in these areas because of certain reasons like, mining, timber, tourism energy and the size for agriculture.
Frank Kargbo said, as a Government, their job is to set a framework as the VGGT is one of them, on how people should get access to natural resources, who should use what resources, for how long and under which conditions.
“Some of these frameworks are currently being revised, providing an opportunity to ensure their compliance with provisions of the VGGT and other Acts. Additionally, a thorough legal assessment has been carried out in all the three sectors in order to assess the compliance of the legislation with the VGGT.”
He went on to state that many stakeholders have already contributed to ensure that the new legal and policy framework which are currently being developed will reflect the needs of the people, will protect all legitimate tenure rights and it will discourage malpractices such as corruption and abuse.
The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice stated that this is not a work for the government alone, that is why they have involved lots of stakeholders and it is a joint effort, as they all have a role to play in the VGGT process.
“I therefore urge all of you to use this unique opportunity to reflect on how the principles and guidance given by the Voluntary Guidelines can further help in our national on-going processes.”
The FAO Representative DR Gabriel Rugalema in his statement disclosed that only in one year, they have started the implementation and during this time, they have done a lot of work which is tangible and will be articulated during the workshop.
He highlighted some achievements which the government has made and he is impressed with, as since the government took over the project, they have institutionalised it within the key line ministries, fisheries, agriculture, land and justice, but that other relevant ministries like Local Governments should be involved.
“I am glad the government has decided that this project is too important to be implemented in the customary manner. There is nothing more to indicate government ownership of the project than the strong and active involvement of government ministries and technical personnel in various personnel in various ministries working through the VGGT secretariat.”
Highlighting some areas of focus on the VGGT, Dr. Rugalema said there should be co-ordination , information and communication and inclusion.
The FAO rep. pledged his organisation’s continued support in providing the relevant technical support either single-handedly or in collaboration with other organisations scaling up the implementation of VGGT to decentralised levels.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Country Planning Ahmed Khonu said large scale acquisition has become important in the food security strategy within the context of poverty alleviation. And land grabbing has been a concern because there has been a high demand for land, clean energy and water and the solutions require effective collaboration amongst all stakeholders.
The issue of food security he went on, also provides fair and equitable access to the natural resources and the VGGT provides for the recognition, protection and promotion of legitimate tenure rights to ensure access to these resources.

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