Improving governance of tenure in policy and practice: monitoring in a space for multiple views

Related GLP Member: Louisa Jansen


The dynamics of current global challenges—like food and nutrition security, environmental degradation, climate change, and emergencies—reduce the availability of and/or access to natural resources, and thereby underline the urgency of achieving transformational changes in the governance of tenure. This is increasingly required to bring the greatest good to the most people, in line with human rights. The globally applicable “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security” (VGGT) were developed to promote responsible tenure governance. The importance of instituting effective monitoring for the implementation of the VGGT at the country level in order to ensure that they have an impact on the ground is well accepted. However, little progress has been made to date. This paper explores plural perspectives on monitoring by the different stakeholders involved because of the multi-dimensional nature of the VGGT implementation, and because tenure governance is a complex system. Allowing space for multiple views means leaving no one’s view behind. It is proposed to map the multiple pathways of change to achieve responsible tenure governance in a causal framework using the concept of theories of change. A pluralistic approach will entail different theories of change operating simultaneously, which will provide an inclusive and comprehensive tool for monitoring by showing the preferred pathways of progress on the ground, and by contributing to future trajectories.

Keywords: tenure governance; Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT); monitoring; accountability; human rights; soft law; theory of change; pathways of change

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