The increasing demand for land will have a significant impact on land tenure across the globe. For example, cities are growing, climate net-zero policies are likely to result in afforestation measures, and population growth and changing consumption patterns will lead to more demand for agricultural land. In this future of increased competition over land, legitimate tenure rights of vulnerable communities need protection. The call for responsible land governance is, therefore, more urgent than ever before.
A framework for securing tenure
Ten years ago, the Committee on World Food Security adopted the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, known by its acronym as the VGGT and regarded as the foundational framework for securing tenure not only to land but also to fisheries and forests. However, the change that the VGGT could achieve for the lives of millions is thwarted by the fact that its proposed regulations are, as its name states, voluntary.
As such, Berlin-based sustainability organization TMG ThinkTank, the Danish Institute for Human Rights, and the Malawi Human Rights Commission have for the past two years been developing a human rights-based approach to land governance that can strengthen the application of the VGGT by connecting them to binding human rights obligations. The result of these efforts is a first-of-its-kind digital tool, the Human Rights & Land Navigator, which works like a search engine for linkages between the VGGT and land-related international human rights standards. One can filter for specific land issues – related to finances, decision-making processes, or fair land allocation, for instance – and then see which rights are at stake and which rights instruments are relevant, helping to inform legal action and advocacy.
A new digital tool
The Human Rights & Land Navigator is an online database that provides a systematic overview of the linkages between the VGGT and international human rights standards. It was developed by TMG Research gGmbH, in cooperation with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Malawi Human Rights Commission.
Check GLF’s Knowledge Library for more Land Rights resources.