Assessing implementation of the Voluntary Tenure Guidelines and the AU Framework and Guidelines for Land Policy: A toolkit approach

Access to and control over land and natural resources is crucial to people’s livelihoods and to ensuring secure livelihoods, their rights to food, water, work, housing and a healthy environment. Governments and donor institutions have the opportunity and responsibility to ensure that their policies and actions contribute to the recognition and respect of these rights.

ActionAid International has been working over the last few years with women and rural communities to challenge commercialization of land, which leads to loss of their rights to land. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of tenure of land, forest and Fisheries - VGGTs, together with the AU Framework and Guidelines for land policy in Africa - AU F&G, both provide progressive internationally accepted principles and norms for defining policies and practice for governance of tenure that particularly safeguard the interests of the poor and marginalized land dependent sections of society.

To give effect to these guidelines, ActionAid developed a Toolkit for assessing gender-sensitive implementation of the VGGTs and the AU F&G at country-level. The toolkit was piloted in four countries: Senegal, the Gambia, Netherlands and Australia, with key lessons emerging and captured in this report.

We hope that this report and lessons herein will encourage greater participatory policy and practice changes that will support women’s and communities’ secure access to and control over land across land tenure regimes. It is only if governments and their agencies embrace and demonstrate political will for stakeholder participation in responsible governance of tenure through policy and practice, and if they champion and take a feminist perspective on land issues, that the Sustainable Development Goals call that no one is to be left behind shall be realized.