Strengthening IFAD & ILC Collaboration On Land Tenure

Monday, 1st July 2019

During the past years, the collaboration between international organizations, NGOs, civil society and governments has led to substantial progress in improving the tenure security for rural populations. 

By Jimmy Gaudin, Yonas Mekonen, Annalisa Mauro, Giulia Barbanente and Harold Liversage. 

Aware of the added value that multi-stakeholder partnerships can generate, the Secretariat of the International Land Coalition (ILC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are enhancing their efforts to deliver effective policies and programmes for more sustainable impacts where needed the most.

Since the creation of the ILC in the mid 1990s, IFAD has been a member of the network and hosts its secretariat. IFAD and other ILC members and secretariat have partnered around various global, regional and country-level initiatives to promote inclusive land governance each demonstrating comparative advantages that can benefit each other's activities. For instance, ILC multi-stakeholder platforms and initiatives offer an opportunity for IFAD national policy engagement, and conversely ILC members to partake in IFAD's programmatic operations at country level. Hence, understanding the potential behind these comparative advantages and their complementarity is the first step to lay the ground for an enduring and fruitful collaboration.


One good example of this potential for improved and increased collaboration is the recently launched strategic partnership on tenure security and climate change adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by the IFAD adaptation for smallholder agriculture funding facility (ASAP II) with the expertise of Natural Justice, a South African Member of ILC, this initiative aims to improve the linkages between tenure security and climate change adaptation by reviewing existing investment programmes. This tripartite partnership is rooted in the assumption that IFAD activities can benefit from being more closely associated with the work and agenda promoted by other ILC members and secretariat at the national level and vice versa. It is expected to provide a framework of different land tenure regimes that can be replicated and scaled-up to foster greater collaboration between IFAD and ILC members at country, regional and the global levels. Eventually, the learning will be shared during continental venues in Africa to inform regional development debate. Another example of successful partnership is the support provided by IFAD and the ILC Secretariat to the National Engagement Strategy (NES) in Tanzania. The Sustainable Rangeland Management Project (SRMP) has demonstrated the added value of a strategic partnership toward securing land rights at country level. At global level, joint advocacy include the supporting inclusion of a set of tenure security indicators in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework or the promotion of the voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure (VGGTs), among others. 

Recognizing the mutual benefit of a greater collaboration, and the importance of fostering synergies, IFAD Land Desk and ILC secretariat have launched an institution wide initiative to identify and to sustain land policy engagement and scale-up innovations. Toward this end, the Partnership for Land initiative seeks to provide IFAD and ILC Secretariat with a pipeline of concrete opportunities to systematize their collaboration, in particular at country level. The initiative covers a full range of opportunities, from themes with high potential for joint programming, global engagements, learning events or potential sources of funding opportunities for IFAD-ILC operations targeting land related issues to eventually support the linkage of joint initiatives in relation to the VGGTs, SDGs, and Africa Land Policy framework and Guidelines. 

Launched a month ago, the initiative has conducted a desk review of IFAD’s portfolio and ILC-supported initiatives to develop collaboration and joint programming between IFAD country offices, IFAD-supported projects and programmes, and ILC-supported multi-stakeholder platforms. The exercise results in a living matrix of concrete overlapping ILC-IFAD map of operations. Among others, the matrix is informed by colleagues with key roles in cross-cutting thematic in relation to land such as climate change, environment, gender, youth or indigenous people to extend the reach of the prospection. The Partnership for Land initiative is also engaging the CIGAR and the global coordinator of the ILC Global Rangelands Initiative. 

So far, the preliminary findings are encouraging. Indeed, the mapping exercise demonstrates several opportunities at different levels of intervention. For instance, based on the pre-selected thematic areas, more than twenty on-going or upcoming initiatives as well as funding opportunities have been identified, focusing mainly on improving women's, youth's and indigenous people's tenure security and on country-level policy engagement. At the global stage, learning events and international conferences offer room to jointly advocate on securing land tenure in development policies. Finally, the mapping shows several country level matches between IFAD Country Strategic Opportunity Programmes (COSOPs) and ILC National Engagement Strategies (NES) in all regions. 

The second phase of the initiative consists on establishing mechanisms and tools to sustain the dialogue and move forward with concrete collaborations. Hence, regular meetings, communication channels, and learning events will facilitate the sharing of information on all IFAD-ILC on-going collaborations and/or to develop proposals for grant-funding to back-up joint initiatives. In the long run, documentation of lessons learned from IFAD-ILC policy engagement will feed both ILC database of good practices and IFAD Rural Solutions Portal and promote the dissemination and uptake of good practices within relevant Communities of Practices. 

The Partnership for Land initiative is coordinated by Jimmy Gaudin, reachable at


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Jimmy Gaudin
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