Responsible Governance of Land Tenure through Voluntary Guidelines

Project completed

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) are an international standard that promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating poverty. SDC supports a multi-donor programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that assists a number of countries in West Africa and East Asia in the implementation and the integration of the VGGT into their legislation by providing technical and institutional support.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Agriculture & food security
Human rights
Agricultural policy
Human rights (incl. Women's rights)
01.10.2016 - 30.06.2021
CHF  4’700’000

Eradication of hunger and poverty, and the sustainable use of the environment, depend in large measure on how people – particularly in the rural poor communities - gain access to land, fisheries and forests. Many tenure problems arise because of weak governance, and the quality of governance affects the attempts to fix these problems. The VGGT provide states and non-state actors with a reference in tenure-related policies, laws, regulations, strategies, and practices. They built on and support the Voluntary Guidelines on the Right to Food and complement a growing body of work geared toward improving tenure policy and law, such as the African Union’s (AU) Framework and Guidelines for Land Policy in Africa (F&G). The principles of the VGGT feature in the targets of two of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The FAO VGGT Programme provides support to the implementation of the VGGT at global, regional and country levels.


Improved frameworks for regulating the tenure of land, fisheries and forests - based on wide participation, non-discrimination, transparency and mutual accountability - contributing to the eradication of hunger and poverty, to sustainable development and to the sustainable use of the environment.

Target groups

Direct target groups:

  • National authorities (particularly in the Mekong Region and in West Africa) in charge of land governance
  • Regional and sub-regional instances in Africa
  • Academic institutions, professional associations and civil society organisations or networks
  • Global exchange and/or coordination platforms involved in land governance

Indirect target group:

  • Millions of rural poor affected by weak land governance
Medium-term outcomes

At global level:

  • Increased capacities of training institutions to deliver curricula on VGGT for improved responsible governance of tenure
  • The global dialogue on VGGT implementation monitoring further develops with the aim of building an assessment and monitoring framework

Mekong Region:

  • VGGT mainstreamed and implemented in the governance of tenure related policies and practices of the Mekong Region countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam)

West Africa:

  • Increased uptake and integrated mainstreaming of the VGGT and the AU F&G in land programmes at AU’ Regional Economics Commissions
  • Enhanced capacities of Economic Community Of West African States to lead regional integration issues on pastoralism and support member states to develop frameworks (policy, legal and institutional) on pastoralism

Expected results:  

At global level:

  • 1 training of trainers curriculum developed and available as public good in three languages (at least)
  • Participation and contribution in at least 1 major event per year in global dialogue through GDWGL and international stock-taking initiatives

Mekong Region:

  • At least 1 focal point created per country (4) per stakeholder group and actively engaged in the law and/or policy making or influencing processes to improve the governance of tenure

West Africa:

  • At least 2 land programmes supported by RECs including references to VGGT and F&G
  • At least 2 initiatives launched or supported by ECOWAS in support to improved governance of pastoralism

Results from previous phases:  

  • Intense dissemination of the VGGT and strong contribution to regional and national awareness-raising through workshops (national, regional), specific communication material, regular newsletters and FAO’s redesigned tenure website
  • Production of 7 technical guides (+ 5 in working progress) and interactive e-learning curricula bringing the principles of the VGGT into practical application
  • Targeted direct support to 5 pilot countries and indirect support (in cooperation with EU) in 10 African countries, direct collaboration with the Land Policy Initiative
  • Direct FAO involvement in various specific partnerships related to the VGGT with universities, professional associations and civil society organisations and in donors’ coordination mechanism

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
United Nations Organization (UNO)
  • Food and Agricultural Organisation

Coordination with other projects and actors

Direct involvement of FAO in almost all international coordination bodies around the VGGT, among them the Global Donor Working Group on Land (to which SDC is also part)

Direct coordination with Land Policy Initiative (LPI)

Internal SDC: synergies with MRLG and potentially with other land governance projects; synergies with the IFAD – WOCAT Land Management Project.

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’700’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    4’700’000 Total project since first phase Swiss budget CHF   4’925’000 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   9’625’000
Project phases

Phase 2 01.10.2016 - 30.06.2021   (Completed)