By Umaru Sahid Jah— IA, Germany :
Following a framework presented by Sierra Leone’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Joseph Sam Sesay, during the 2011 global Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) conference in Rome, the Federal government of Germany has agreed upon a trilateral land partnership with the government of Sierra Leone and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
AGRICULTURE MINISTER SAM SESAY
The aim of the agreement is to improve the land tenure system and to create a national dialogue involving civil society organisations into the process of reforming national legislation in the agricultural sector—a press release from the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Germany states.
The partnership is in line with the United Nations Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land—the first universal and applicable standards for the recognition and protection of acquiring land since the adaptation of the Guidelines in May 2012.
Its main objective is to provide practical guidelines to government to improve natural resource governance and to recognise that secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forest are crucial to achieve food security.
It was in this vein that Germany’s Federal Minister of Agriculture, Christian Schmidt said “Access to land and secure land tenure rights are of existential importance in ensuring food security for the rural population of Sierra Leone. At the same time, the country urgently needs investment in agriculture to promote economic growth and fight poverty.”
He disclosed his government´s commitment in supporting Sierra Leone through the Land Partnership agreement, thereby creating a legal and administrative framework for investment in the agricultural sector. Thus, tenure rights would be protected and provide an enabling investment climate in the country.
The partnership, he went on, will enable both countries to build on their good working relations, which go back over many years. He expressed delight over such a success and having FAO as a third partner.
However, the Voluntary Guidelines remain a useful tool to advance progressive land tenure policies that are clearly anchored in existing international human rights obligations.
It is expected that the G8 states will present their first report on the result of the land partnership during the summit in the Netherland, as the summit engages bilateral partnerships to support less developed countries in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines at national level.