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13/01/2016 Dynamic learning events held in Africa on land governance and food security

In early 2015, the Netherlands Academy on Land Governance (LANDac) and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP) developed a knowledge agenda on land governance and food security. One of the activities addressed as part of the agenda was the development of three country-specific capacity building trajectories in linking land governance and food security.

Internationally, the Netherlands is rather active in the field of land governance and food security. On one hand, the Dutch have a long-standing expertise in the different aspects of land governance and on the other hand, food security is one of the main themes of the Dutch international development agenda. A great deal of knowledge exists on the link between land governance and food security, yet it is not always clear where to find updated information or how it can be used or how it can be adapted to the country-specific contexts by decision makers and development practitioners. The capacity development trajectories are aimed to make this expertise and information widely available, to translate available knowledge into policy and practice in partner countries of the Netherlands, and to enable mutual exchange and learning between countries.

In the last few months, three (pilot) trajectories have been rolled out respectively in Uganda (October 26-30), Ghana (November 23-27) and Ethiopia (December 7-11). The meetings were organized by LANDac, the F&BKP and partner organizations in these three countries and between 20 to 25 professionals working on issues of land governance and food security in their home countries were in participation. Contributors were from the fields of academia, NGOs, multi-lateral organizations, national and local governments, farmers organizations, the Netherlands Embassy and the private sector.

The four-day learning and exchange events provided participants and their organizations with knowledge to better handle issues of land governance and food security in their countries by studying, exchanging and discussing the complex linkages between the two topics. This was done through presentations given by local experts, by field visits to land-based investments and local government offices, and by developing action plans for their respective organizations.

In the three countries, communities working on land issues and those working on food security and livelihood-related topics appeared to be largely separate communities. Participants appreciated the learning events as that these two communities were brought together by linking the discussions around land to discussions of food security, both between and within sectors. Local expertise in research and practice were linked together with global debates and available knowledge and information from the Netherlands and other countries working in the field. Context is key in uncovering the complex linkages between land governance and food security in these three countries. By better sharing available knowledge as well as bringing together different stakeholders within countries, these particular strategies could be employed when addressing food security through better land governance.

As a result, preliminary outcomes included the establishment of a private sector NGO exchange forum in Uganda, the setting up of a knowledge platform in Ghana and draft guidelines and recommendations for Dutch investors in Ghana on how to increase land governance and food security in their activities.

Main outcomes and lessons learned from the three country trajectories will be shared amongst the participants and the wider public in the coming months, including a policy brief. Please keep an eye on the F&BKP website to stay updated. A synthesis meeting for Dutch stakeholders will be organized in the Netherlands in the beginning of 2016.

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