New land governance approaches in Mauritania and Tunisia: From VGGT principles to change | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
February 2021
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This paper presents how the active use and contextualisation of the principles of the
Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and
Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) by national stakeholders in
Mauritania and Tunisia contributed to changing the approach to tackling tenure challenges
in the two member countries of the Maghreb Arab Union.
In Mauritania, we see how the model of establishing multi-stakeholder platforms (MSPs)
involving all concerned actors - in line with the recommendations of the VGGT - has been
set up at national, local and regional level. This approach has helped to solve local land
issues and disputes, prevent conflicts and influenced the national land tenure reform
process in the country to take into consideration the needs of all affected stakeholders,
including the most marginalized groups.
In Tunisia, we see how interactive trainings helped to strengthen capacities of technical
staff of the Agence du Foncier Agricole (AFA – Agricultural Land Agency) to implement a
participatory approach to improve land consolidation projects. This approach has been a
radical change from the dominant top-down approach often applied by practitioners on the
ground. We also see how exchanges of experiences, innovative tools and approaches have
led to new synergies and partnerships.
Lastly, we learn how the VGGT and participatory approaches inspired stakeholders in both
countries to prepare concrete tools to address tenure challenges in their own country
context. This paper presents concrete examples of how local stakeholders in both countries
were motivated to make active use of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) principles to
prepare their own manuals as a guide to improve governance of tenure in their respective
The experiences from Mauritania and Tunisia presented in this paper are promising
examples of how national stakeholders, and in particular so-called “change agents”,
including surveyors, local leaders, judges, decision-makers and civil society actors, can
make use of the VGGT to transform key principles of participation and consultation into
concrete action and change

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Jean-Maurice Durand

Ingeborg Gaarde

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