Improving Governance of Tenure in Policy and Practice: A Conceptual Basis to Analyze Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships

Related GLP Member: Louisa Jansen


Tenure governance is a complex and multi-dimensional issue that requires cross-sectoral and holistic approaches, gathering the resources, information and expert skills of a variety of actors while exploring innovative, polycentric multi-stakeholder governance arrangements to address collective action challenges. To do this, multi-stakeholder partnerships are formed where public and private partners pool their resources and competencies to address mutual goals more effectively. A coherent theoretical framework to analyze multi-stakeholder partnerships as part of multi-stakeholder governance is presented based on internal conditions and the external environment. The paper expands existing frameworks to analyze multi-stakeholder partnerships through introducing a new element the deliberative capacity, a decisive success factor for the effectiveness of multi-stakeholder partnerships for multi-stakeholder transformative governance at the national level. Moreover, the practical applicability of this expanded framework is illustrated in a real case example in South Africa. This country-driven, inclusive multi-stakeholder partnership process, which integrates a variety of actors in collective decision-making on the land reform process as part of a multi-stakeholder governance process, is used as an illustration of the above framework. Such a partnership linked to multi-stakeholder governance is the key instrument to attain agreement and recognition for the dedicated implementation and monitoring of the ‘Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security’ (VGGT). The investment made by the different stakeholders in this organically constituted partnership may add to a greater transformative potential in the VGGT implementation and monitoring process, and the probability that the situation on the ground will change sustainably given the explicit linkage to national governance arrangements.

Keywords: tenure governance; Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT); internal conditions; external environment; deliberative capacity; multi-stakeholder partnership; multi-stakeholder governance; South Africa; Sustainable Development Goals

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