HOW CAN THE VOLUNTARY GUIDELINES BE DISSEMINATED AND MADE EFFECTIVE? Open until November 25th

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Date

From 10/31/2012
To 11/16/2012

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Dear all,
After a long and very fruitful consultation process, in May 2012 the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGs) have been approved by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
In order to disseminate and promote the VGs among the Land Portal members and users and beyond, the Portal has created a dedicated web page. In addition, this discussion is being launched to allow us all to share our experiences over the dissemination and implementation of these types of voluntary tools.
Therefore, the two aspects of this discussion will be:
HOW To Disseminate: How can the VG be disseminated? Share with us concrete examples on how these types of voluntary tools can be promoted.
HOW To Make Effective: How can we make these types of voluntary tools work? Share with us your experiences concerning multi-stakeholder platforms at national level which are contributing to widen the engagement on land-tenure processes.
You can participate by leaving a comment on this page - we encourage you to join the Land Portal. If you have problems posting, please send an e-mail to Ms. Francesca Carpano at f.carpano@ifad.org, as IFAD will be the facilitator of this discussion.

What the user says

Comments

Written by Suzanne Verhoog (not verified) on 11/05/2012

Hello, I've just finished my master thesis at VU University Amsterdam (Political Science, Global Environmental Governance) on the effectiveness of global land policies on large-scale land acquisition. I've compared global land policies (voluntary guidelines) as developed by the European Union, the World Bank Group and consortium, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the African Union. An institutional framework forms the basis for the analysis. Based upon a theoretical analysis of soft and hard law, and interrelations with transparency, accountability and legitimacy, twelve hypotheses have been tested. Subsequently patterns of effectiveness were identified qualitatively. This paper critically analyzes whether 'codes of conduct', as established by international organizations as ‘agents of change', could be an effective solution in regulating the global land grab. In the context of changing patterns in current global climate governance architecture, this paper furthermore provides more detailed insight in the science-policy debate on ‘soft law' and ‘hard law'. My research implies that the African Union Framework and Guidelines, and the FAO Voluntary Guidelines, are most likely to succeed in effectively regulating large-scale land transactions in the near future. I am of course very interested in an in-depth discussion on this subject. My thesis can be downloaded at: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Suzanne_Verhoog/

Written by Jeanmaurice-durand on 11/07/2012

Jean-Maurice Durand, IFAD Land Tenure and Rural Infrastructure Adviser:

At the beginning of this debate, and regarding the experiences in implementing similar tools possibly evoked by the participants, one of the subjects could be the preliminary determination of a baseline. Indeed, the first step of the process of implementation should be an assessment of the current situation, aiming in particular at undertaking an assessment of what aspects of the VGs are already included in the institutional and legal frameworks and what aspects would need to be strengthened. Are there examples of such assessments (in particular in countries where recent land reforms have been initiated) ?

We must also think about two main situations at national level: (i) when a land reform is planned or already under design; (ii) when land reforms have been already completed or are not envisaged. According to the situation, the implementation strategy would be significantly different. In the first case the VGs should be used as a reference for the elaboration of the new legal corpus and their principles promoted through the policy dialogue. In the second phase, the process should concentrate on taking into consideration the principles of the VGs in the implementation modalities (elaboration of decrees, dissemination of participatory practices, advocacy, etc.).

Written by fcarpano on 11/07/2012

Message on behalf of Ms Antonella Cordone, IFAD Co-ordinator for Indigenous  and Tribal Issues

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is not a binding instrument as the conventions are, but since it was approved by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, indigenous peoples have been advocating for its implementation at all levels.  Today you will not find a single document in the UN, including several countries that do not mention the UNDRIP when referring to indigenous peoples.

The best way to implement these kind of instruments is to have the constituencies to push for them at local, national and international levels.  In order to so do, trainings and capacity building on understanding the new instruments are needed at all levels. Indigenous Peoples have made their declaration appear in several official documents from climate change negotiations, to Rio+20, to REDD related documents and have lobbied to have the Declaration influence policies at national and international level.

After 5 years following its approval, the UNDRIP has become THE INSTRUMENT of indigenous peoples at all level.  Small projects at community level have been implemented to make the Declaration known, in forms of dramas, comics etc.

The UNDRIP has been translated in some 50 indigenous peoples languages - volunteer translations made by various institutes (see the link of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues http://social.un.org/index/IndigenousPeoples/DeclarationontheRightsofIndigenousPeoples.aspx)

The key message is that the best way to implement the Voluntary Guidelines and make them effective is to have the people and constituencies whose rights are protected in the guidelines to disseminate and lobbing with their governments to have them adopted.

Make a list of the people/movements: pastoralists, farmers, indigenous peoples and ensure that resources are devoted to them, to make the voluntary guidelines known and understood.

Use all possible opportunities to make it known. 

Use the inter-agencies groups such as the  Inter-Agency support group on indigenous peoples issues, which is constituted of about 30 UN organizations, the inter-agency group on women etc.  and have them endorse the guidelines,

Use the constituencies of the IPC to have them disseminate and implement the Guidelines.

Capacity building resources to be provided to farmers' organizations, pastoralists organizations, indigenous peoples' organizations etc. to have them disseminated.  With the support of FAO, IFAD and other organizations those constituencies can organize policy dialogues with governments and have the Guidelines known at local and community level. 

Create an information campaign on the Voluntary Guidelines and make them a must to be present  in key international meetings to make them known.  Don't miss the momentum.

Written by fcarpano on 11/08/2012

Posted on behalf of Ms Elisa Distefano, Finnish Project Funds Coordinator, Environment and Climate Division, IFAD 

Suggested means of disseminations:

-         Distribute the guidelines to all concerned Ministries in developing countries

-         Training of policy makers

-         Organization of regional workshops

Written by fcarpano on 11/13/2012

Posted on behalf of  Faburama Fofana, IFSN Coordinator, Gambia

HOW TO DISSEMINATE: How can the VG be disseminated? Share with us concrete examples on how these types of voluntary tools can be promoted.

Community Radio (FM Stations) Panel Discussion: Community Radios are important source of information for our rural farmers as they are based in rural communities. They are aware of rural realities and are frequently used by farmers, development organisations, etc who present their programmes and project activities for wider coverage. The broadcasting of programme activities are done in such a way that farmers have enough time to listen to and participate in the programmes by way calling and sharing their experiences.

Regional Farmers’ Consultative Meetings: Farmer consultative meetings are found to be very effective in disseminating development information to rural farmers across the country. In the Gambia this is found to be effective and educative as it brings all the women farmers together from regions at a central location where they discuss, share, ask questions, give feedbacks on farmers’ problems at the respective regional levels. At the end of the consultative forums organisations/task forms will develop action plan which will be used as activity plan for the region. These regional action plans will form the development plan for the organisation. Voluntary Guidelines can be disseminated to the rural farmers using this type of method

Farmers Newsletters: This is a development information sharing/dissemination tool/forum where organisations use to share new innovations, technologies, discoveries for wider adoption and application. The Voluntary Guidelines discussion can take advantage of this news outlet where many seasoned development workers and experts contribute. The newsletters are widely circulated

Media (electronic and print, emails, sms, etc) Campaign: The use of media in disseminating farmer information, technologies, and innovations is on the increase. As many people are practicing agriculture as a source of their livelihood, they now use emails, SMS texts, etc to get new information, technologies, approaches to farmer’s problems with the view to increasing their production and productivity. Not only does it help in yield increase, it avails them the opportunity to  discuss land issues especially if it affects them in terms of access, ownership, control, etc..

HOW TO MAKE EFFECTIVE: How can we make these types of voluntary tools work? Share with us your experiences concerning multi-stakeholder platforms at national level which are contributing to widen the engagement on land-tenure processes.

Land owner engagement: Land use, control, management, ownership are sensitive issues in developing countries especially where commercial values are attached to that particular land. In some communities, land management is under the custody of the head of the family who does not have exclusive power to distribute a portion of it without consulting the rest of the family members who have strong power in decision making as far as family land is concerned. In the event of an individual household owning land, the decision on land allocation, control, ownership is simple as members are of the same father and mother who would always want to maintain cohesion within the household. Similarly, most decisions are reached at a household meeting.

Strengthening civil society groups in advocacy works: It is important for civil society organisations to get first hand information on how land ownership and control is being practiced and applied at various community and family levels. Applying the tools in diverse situation would require deeper understanding of the cultural practices relating to land in order to avoid tension within the community. Commercialized lands attract high premium and therefore are source of dispute and attention in our communities whereas socialized land tenure system has a low chance of friction within our communities. Once civil society organisations are equipped with the right type of advocacy skills, the discussion on voluntary guidelines at any platform will work effectively and efficiently. Use of civil society organisations will help us make the tool work well.

Engaging government arms responsible for land management and control: Government has a prime role in protecting and guiding the use of land in any country and therefore it will be the interest of the government to ensure proper and peaceful administration and management of land. Engaging government authorities in advancing the tools will help make the tool work better. Policy papers established by government on land administration and management are important tools to apply.

Written by Maurizio Navarra (not verified) on 11/15/2012

There are several levels to take into account when thinking about disseminating the VGs: - the international level, which is mainly driven by the institutions (be them UN, multi, bi-lateral etc) that are promoting these guidelines; - the regional and subregional level, ie represented by regional organizations, lobby groups, regional economic communities etc.; and - the national level: whenever country X endorses the guidelines, it decides to disseminate them using the most appropriate media. Whilst the third (national) relates mostly to the level of endorsement and to the willingness of the country to implement these VGs (which, eventually, need to be implemented at the national level), the international and regional levels are of utmost importance when it comes to advocating for these VGs, in order to get countries to endorse them. There, the international community could start campaigning to get other institutions on board, especially the MEAs: e.g. since land (but also forestry) is at the center of several environmental and development processes (eg UNCCD, UNFCCC, UNFF etc), a series of side events or even more "formalized" roundtables could be launched with the respective secretariats of such processes, for example during the respective COPs or councils. This would allow National Focal points to be clearly sensitized and capacitated when it comes to actual implementation on the ground. A basic communications toolkit (provided it has not been prepared as yet) should be addressed to policy makers and government reps to clearly explain how these VGs could have a positive impact on their countries' legislation and, eventually, on the way natural resources are managed locally. Another good strategy would be to get endorsement from regional groupings or regional economic communities (RECs) such as COMESA, SADC, CARICOM etc. If the debate on VGs can be upscaled to that level, special training or capacity-building sessions can be foreseen to build synergies amongst countries (in a south/south spirit). Eg: if country A endorses and implements the VGs, it may advocate for them through the REC(s) it belongs to, so that other countries of the same REC may decide to endorse the VGs. These are just my first thought. In practice, political endorsement (at the regional and national level) is the first key issue the international community needs to take into account when communicating the VGs. Hope this helps Thanks

Written by Charl de Villiers (not verified) on 11/19/2012

I write from Cape Town, South Africa, against the background of some eight years’ experience in ‘biodiversity mainstreaming’ in the Fynbos and Grasslands Biomes of South Africa. In a nutshell, one needs to have a deliberate, funded programme of implementation for guidelines to be ‘taken on board’ by the targeted sectors or users. Without such a programme, one can probably assume, at most, awareness of the existence of guidelines, but without any guarantee that they will actually be used in support of their intended purpose. * Have a mainstreaming strategy and know whom you want to reach, why – and, critically, how How one goes about ‘mainstreaming’ guidelines will, to a large extent, depend on who you’re aiming to reach, and to what end. Effective ‘mainstreaming’ (w.r.t. biodiversity, sustainable, agriculture, soil conservation etc) must include:  Setting in place enabling policies and institutions to promote and support mainstreaming;  Making available accessible, up-to-date information on biodiversity etc priorities;  Drafting guidelines to interpret information on biodiversity etc priorities for the purposes of planning and decision making; and  Giving effect to a resourced and dedicated mainstreaming implementation programme. In the case of ‘mainstreaming’ ecosystem guidelines for environmental assessment, we engaged with:  Organisations representing environmental consultants and spatial planners;  Government departments responsible for regulating environmental, agricultural, water and planning-related applications;  Farmers and the provincial ‘LandCare’ (i.e. sustainable resource management) programme; and  The three universities in Cape Town. Such engagements entailed, variously:  Training workshop attendees and students in the application of ecosystem guidelines to environmental assessment, in the context of international EIA best practice and national biodiversity conservation priorities;  General awareness-raising of the role of such guidelines and their relevance to agricultural planning and production;  Developing targeted training programmes with various government departments and the South African National Biodiversity Insitute on applying ecosystem guidelines and internet-hosted biodiversity plans http://bgis.sanbi.org and information to environmental impact assessment and spatial planning; and  Generally, maximising the use of practical, hands-on case studies to familiaries workshop attendees and students in the use of these products. ‘Best practice’ guidelines have also been developed for a number of agricultural sectors, including the wine industry, potato and rooibos tea producers, ostrich production, red meat and the sugar farming industry. These initiatives have been spearheaded locally by Green Choice, Conservation International and the World Wide Fund for Nature (South Africa). The development of agricultural best practice guidelines is generally focused on those production sectors that overlap with areas of high biodiversity importance and risk. * The South African experience in bioregional planning and biodiversity mainstreaming There is much more that I could share with you, but suffice to say that landscape and bioregional conservation programmes in South Africa would, in many respects, appear to be world leaders on ‘biodiversity mainstreaming’ through instruments such as guidelines and dedicated implementation and capacity-building programmes. In this regard, I would strongly recommend that you have a look at at Chapter 3 (‘Tools for mainstreaming in land-use planning and decision-making’) of ‘Biodiversity for Development’ (Cadman et al., 2010), a primer on biodiversity ‘mainstreaming ‘ in South Africa which strongly advocates a philosophy of “planning for implementation”. The document is 11 Mb in size. I could send it to you, or you can download it at http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/primer_11_2_mb.pdf A case study on ‘biodiversity mainstreaming’, which among others hinged on the development and dissemination of ecosystem guidelines for environmental assessment, can be downloaded at http://www.capeaction.org.za/uploads/5_Including_biodiversity_in_EIAs.pdf The latter work placed much emphasis on practical implementation of guidelines in the targeted sectors. Also see the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s ‘Biodiversity Advisor’ http://biodiversityadvisor.sanbi.org/ Please note that I do not represent any of the abovementioned organisations. However, having been closely involved (through the Botanical Society of South Africa), over several years, in developing products and strategies for biodiversity mainstreaming in impact assessment and land use planning – and having first-hand experience in their practical application to my work as an EIA consultant and part-time university lecturer – I believe there is much of value in these initiatives that should be shared as widely as possible. I hope this of use. All the best, Charl Charl de Villiers Certified Environmental Assessment Practitioner Cape Town, South Africa

Written by fcarpano on 11/19/2012

Message by Charl de Villiers - Certified Environmental Assessment Practitioner

I write from Cape Town, South Africa, against  the background of some eight years’ experience in ‘biodiversity mainstreaming’ in the Fynbos  and Grasslands Biomes of South Africa.

In a nutshell, one needs  to have a deliberate,  funded programme of implementation for guidelines to be ‘taken on board’ by  the targeted  sectors or users. Without such a programme, one can probably assume,  at most, awareness of the existence of guidelines, but without any guarantee that they will actually be used in support of their intended purpose.

How one goes about ‘mainstreaming’ guidelines will, to a large extent, depend on who you’re aiming to reach, and influence.

In the case of ‘mainstreaming’  ecosystem guidelines for environmental assessment, we  engaged with:

-         Organisations representing environmental consultants and spatial planners;

-         Government departments responsible for regulating environmental, agricultural, water and planning-related applications;

-         Farmers and the provincial ‘LandCare’ (i.e. sustainable resource management)  programme; and

-         The three universities in Cape Town.

Such engagements entailed, variously:

 -         Training workshop attendees and students in the application of ecosystem  guidelines  to environmental assessment,  in  the context of international EIA best practice and national biodiversity conservation priorities;

-         General awareness-raising of  the role of such guidelines  and their relevance to agricultural planning and production;

-         Developing targeted training programmes with  various government departments  and  the South African National Biodiversity Institute on applying ecosystem guidelines and internet-hosted biodiversity plans http://bgis.sanbi.org and information to environmental impact assessment and spatial planning; and

-         Generally, maximising the use of practical, hands-on case studies to familiarise workshop attendees and students in the use of these products.

'Best  practice’ guidelines have also  been developed for a number of agricultural  sectors,  including the wine industry, potato and rooibos tea  producers, ostrich production, red meat  and  the sugar farming industry. These initiatives have been spearheaded locally by  Green  Choice, Conservation International and the World Wide Fund for Nature (South Africa). The development of agricultural best practice guidelines is generally focused on those production sectors that overlap  with areas of high biodiversity importance and risk.

There is much more that I could share with you, but suffice to say that landscape and bioregional conservation programmes in South Africa would, in many respects, appear to be world leaders on ‘biodiversity mainstreaming’ through instruments such as guidelines and dedicated implementation and capacity-building programmes.

In this regard, I would strongly recommend that you have a look at Chapter 3 (‘Tools for mainstreaming in land-use planning and decision-making’) of ‘Biodiversity for Development’ (Cadman et al., 2010), a primer on biodiversity ‘mainstreaming ‘ in South Africa which strongly advocates a philosophy of “planning for implementation”. The document is 11 Mb in size. I could send it to you, or you can download it at http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/primer_11_2_mb.pdf

The shorter piece (http://www.capeaction.org.za/uploads/5_Including_biodiversity_in_EIAs.pdf) is extracted from a monitoring and evaluation report authored by the ‘Cape Action Plan for People and the Environment’ http://www.capeaction.org.za It illustrates ‘mainstreaming’ work done in the impact assessment and land use sectors in the Western  Cape province.

Also see the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s ‘Biodiversity Advisor’ http://biodiversityadvisor.sanbi.org/

Please note that I  do  not represent any  of the abovementioned organisations.

However, having been closely involved (through  the Botanical Society of South Africa),  over several years, in developing products and strategies for biodiversity mainstreaming in impact assessment and land use planning – and having first-hand experience in their practical application  to my work as an EIA consultant and part-time university lecturer – I believe there is much of value in these initiatives that should be shared as widely as possible.

I hope this of use.

All the best,

Charl

Written by Poul Wisborg (not verified) on 11/23/2012

By Poul Wisborg, researcher, Department of International Environment and Development Studies, Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. 1. Make a sober analysis of the extent to which the Voluntary Guidelines on the human right to food have been effective: where, how, why/why not? 2. Commission human rights/legal analysis of what is new in VG-Tenure and how they interacts with/complements/contradicts prior global, regional and national commitments. This could support sharpened messages/advocacy directed towards governments about their (new) obligations. 3. Challenge investors/investment funds/ and investor conferences to discuss and make clear how VG-Tenure affect their land-related investments. 4. Challenge governments to explain, for example in a public event, why they approved VG-tenure and what they plan to do about it. 5. Civil society organisations, jointly or separately, to explain and discuss if and how VG-Tenure affects their work. 6. Communicate, discuss with and seek the advice of practitioners of whether and how VG-Tenure make sense in relation to their work, and compile those inputs at local, national or regional level. 7. Make a short version of the VG-Tenure that is more action oriented, or possibly several issue-specific lists of priority actions for addressing large-scale land deals or gender inequality in land governance, cross referencing VG-Tenure. These could also be made at various geographical levels. 8. Promote debates, research, experience-gathering and practical experiments with alternative practices and strategies for agrarian change that are conducive for realising VG-Tenure and human rights.

Written by alexander sagaydak on 11/23/2012

I think that the public relation campaign to strengthen people’s ability   to understand the role and importance of  the VGs must be launched. We should use a lot mass media (radio, TV, Internet , newspapers and etc.) for it. The course curriculum focused on the VGs should be introduced in schools and universities. The pilot projects focused on implementation of  the VGs should be initiated in different countries. The lessons learned from them should be scrutinized and replicated in other places.

Written by Alberta Guerra on 11/27/2012

Alberta Guerra, ActionAid

Some of the ActionAid reported cases of how land has been grabbed by foreign companies without providing adequate compensation, or fulfilling the promises on the base of which consensus was provided by communities, or in some cases in violation of human rights, demonstrates how the VGs can be a supportive tool to prevent land grabbing by strengthening the land governance systems in the investments recipient countries and by holding Governments and companies accountable.

Dissemination of the VGs is the very first step to ensure that local and national land tenure governance  systems respond to the needs of the rural communities for their livelihoods. National Governments, land officials, local authorities, should acknowledge the VGs principles and standards and be trained in order to refer to best practices that are adapted at the local and national context, may ensure secure tenure rights to land for the most vulnerable. 

NGOs and CSOs can help raising awareness on the VGs in their work with marginalized communities, first of all by providing them with supporting material to help comprehension of this complex legal instrument. Synthesized versions of the VGs nuanced to local context would also be helpful for example.  Then, by supporting them in claiming for their legitimate rights to be respected and protected by the state. Last but not least, to advocate for setting up a national multistakeholder platform to assess the state of tenure against the VGs standards and identify areas that need to reform.  In order to do this, NGOs and CSOs, both at international, regional and national level, should be involved in any initiative supported by the Rome based Agencies aimed at raising awareness of the VGs, in order to ensure the inclusiveness of the discussion from the onset.

The word “voluntary” should not discourage us. After almost ten years from the adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines on the progressive realization of the right to food, around 22 countries have adopted the right to food concept within their constitution, and others have enshrined it in national laws. The power of mobilization can make a difference, and we can make a very strong case for VGs implementation to stop the global land rush over the last few years.

Following the example of Guatemala, CSOs should not wait for governments to initiate the process to implement the VGs. In many cases, the government officials are neither conversant with the content nor the value of the provisions of the VGs for their land tenure governance systems. CSO should target governments for info ad put pressure for the adoption of the VGs.

Written by fcarpano on 11/28/2012

On- line discussion summary

Dear participants,

First, I would like to thank you all for your participation and willingness to share with us your experiences and ideas on how to disseminate the Voluntary Guidelines (VGs) and make them effective. Below you will find the summary of the discussion which tries to capture the richness of your contributions.

Warm regards,

Francesca Carpano, IFAD discussion facilitator.

 

In general terms, it has been underlined that although the VGs are a voluntary tool, they represent an important recognition of rights and duties:  in fact the word “voluntary” should not discourage us! Other not binding instruments, like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) or the voluntary guidelines on the right to food are now fully recognized at national and international levels and used for the elaboration of policies and legal frameworks and texts. A second general comment refers to the fact that the VGs are seen as an effective tool to prevent the land grabbing phenomena and/or to contribute to solve conflicts over land.  

More specifically, the dissemination of the VGs is seen as the very first step to ensure that local and national land tenure governance  systems respond to the needs of the rural communities for their livelihoods: national Governments, land officials, local authorities, should acknowledge the VGs principles and standards and be trained in order to refer to best practices that are adapted at the local and national context and may ensure secure tenure rights to land for the most vulnerable. 

On HOW TO DISSEMINATE, the first step is to make the VGs known by the very different stakeholders and several are the levels that should be taken into account when thinking about dissemination:

a)      the international level, mainly driven by the institutions, such as UN, multi, bi-lateral etc.,  that are promoting the guidelines;

b)      the regional and sub-regional level, represented by regional organizations, lobby groups, regional economic communities etc.; and

c)       the national level: whenever country X endorses the guidelines, it decides to disseminate them using the most appropriate media.

The political endorsement  is the first key issue the international community needs to face when communicating the VGs. In the last 15 years, the tenure issues have been acquiring more and more attention and we should take advantage of this positive dynamism. Capacity building resources provided to farmers’ organizations, pastoralists organizations, indigenous peoples’ organizations etc. are crucial to the dissemination: with the support of FAO, IFAD and other organizations those constituencies can organize policy dialogues with governments and have the Guidelines known at local and community level. 

At international level, a good starting point could be to put in place an information campaign on the Voluntary Guidelines and make them a must to be present  in key international meetings so to make them broadly known.  This campaign would strengthen people’s ability  to understand the role and importance of  the VGs, and various mass media channels, such as radio, TV, Internet , newspapers and etc., could be used for it.

At country level, possible means for dissemination are proposed such as distribute the guidelines to all concerned Ministries in developing countries;  community radio (FM Stations) panel discussion; regional farmers’ consultative meetings; farmers newsletters; media (electronic and print, emails, text messages, etc.) campaign; training of policy makers.  Course curriculum focused on the VGs could also be introduced in schools and universities.

NGOs and CSOs can help raising awareness on the VGs in their work with marginalized communities, first of all by providing them with supporting material to help comprehension of this complex legal instrument.  Then, by supporting them in claiming for their legitimate rights to be respected and protected by the state. Last but not least, to advocate for setting up a national multistakeholder platform to assess the state of tenure against the VGs standards and identify areas that need to reform.  In order to do this, NGOs and CSOs, both at international, regional and national level, should be involved in any initiative supported by the Rome-based agencies aimed at raising awareness of the VGs, in order to ensure the inclusiveness of the discussion from the onset.

CSO should target governments for info, ask them how they intend to implement the VGs they endorsed and put pressure for the concrete adoption of the VGs: they in fact should not necessarily wait for governments to initiate the process to implement the VGs, as in some cases, the government officials may be neither conversant with the content nor the value of the provisions of the VGs for their land tenure governance systems.

Finally, the VGs should be accessible to all: as previously mentioned, they are a complex instrument and therefore they should be made more user-friendly, more accessible in terms of length and language – without losing their fundamental spirit and nuanced to local contexts. Shorter versions of the VGs could be useful – as already prepared by FAO - more action oriented, at various geographical levels and possibly issue-specific. They should be properly translated into local languages, as it was successfully done for the  UNDRIP which has been voluntarily translated by various institutions in some 50 indigenous peoples languages.

On HOW TO MAKE THE VGs EFFECTIVE, the most effective way to implement the Voluntary Guidelines and make them effective is to have the people and constituencies whose rights are protected in the guidelines to disseminate and lobbing with their governments to have them adopted. Having a deliberate, funded programme of implementation would be an extremely operative way.

One of the first steps of the process of implementation should be an assessment of the current situation at country level, aiming in particular understanding what aspects of the VGs are already included in the institutional and legal frameworks and what aspects would need to be strengthened. In fact, at national level, two main situations may occur: (i) when a land reform is planned or already under design; or, (ii) when land reforms have been already completed or are not envisaged. According to the situation, the implementation strategy would be significantly different. In the first case the VGs should be used as a reference for the elaboration of the new legal corpus and their principles promoted through the policy dialogue. In the second phase, the process should concentrate on taking into consideration the principles of the VGs in the implementation modalities (elaboration of decrees, dissemination of participatory practices, advocacy, etc.).  These are long term processes, which should also include the private sector. Pilot projects focused on implementation of  the VGs should be initiated in different countries and lessons learned deriving from them should be scrutinized and replicated in other places.

Then, there is the need to strengthen civil society groups in advocacy works: it is important for civil society organisations to get first-hand information on how land ownership and control is being practiced and applied at various community and family levels. Applying the tools in diverse situation would require deeper understanding of the cultural practices relating to land in order to avoid tension within the community. Once civil society organisations are equipped with the right type of advocacy skills, the discussion on voluntary guidelines at any platform will work effectively and efficiently.

The engagement of  government sectors responsible for land management and control is central as the Government has a prime role in protecting and guiding the use of land in any country and therefore it will be the interest of the government to ensure proper and peaceful administration and management of land. Engaging government authorities in advancing the tools will help make the tool work better.