By Ishmael Kindama Dumbuya
Green Scenery a local nongovernmental organization has held an end of year meeting on the voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of the tenure of land fisheries and forest resources. The one day refection meeting was organized at the Family Kingdom resort along Aberdeen Beach on Thursday 22nd December 2016 with the presence of key stakeholders on the environment and land related issues in the country.
The main objective of the reflection meeting is to help stimulate discussion and outlook of the implementation of the voluntary guidelines with key target on permanent sectaries, directors and key civil society representatives. The meeting aimed at bringing stakeholder discussions leading to the development and design of reforms involving the application of the voluntary guidelines on the governance of the tenure of land in the country. Key among the methodologies used during the meeting were strategic discussions and group work and plenary discussions.
Commenting on the rationale for the reflection meeting, the Director of Green Scenery, Joseph Rahall said it is important to regularly retrospect on “our planned actions and to audit plan for growth or development after assessing accomplishments, challenges and lessons learnt”. He said a year of action by all those involved in the implementation of the VGGT requires a totality of reflection and planning for action which planning and actions could lead to change in the way the various structures established may achieve better outcomes. Mr. Rahall further said that the reflection is important because it will tease out the gains, challenges, lessons and will help the leaders in the room to develop ways of achieving better outcomes in the future.
The Food and agriculture Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines (VGGT) is being implemented by the Government of Sierra Leone since 2013 and less public engagement is taking place around it even though high level engagement is taking place as a preparatory measure for its implementation in Sierra Leone. Since early 2015, the implementation of the VGGT recommended with tasks assigned to constituted structures charged with the responsibility of rolling out the FAO-VGGT.
However, three committees have been established for the specific purpose of facilitating the easy implementation of the guidelines through laying the basis of the process including the technical working group, the steering committee and the inter-ministerial task force.
Mr. Rahall said these committees have worked for two years effectively and much had occurred at higher levels some of which are studies for aligning the VGGT in policies and legislations. He added that the committees have worked assiduously to accomplish monumental tasks and that these achievements and challenges formed part of this deliberation in the previous year.
According to Mr. Rahall, the green scenery project titled “promotion of the transparent and participatory implementation of the voluntary guideline on the responsible governance of land in Sierra Leone has an inbuilt component to engage high level stakeholders on the issues of the VGGT. The action will be the second such high level stakeholder engagement of the project and the intension of the second refection meeting is to help inform the stakeholders targeted in this meeting on what has been done, what needs to be done and what successes and challenges had been met and propose how to succeed.
During the previous reflection meeting, it was recommended that the government of Sierra Leone should make financial commitment to the VGGT implementation including the running of the secretariat, CSOs need to ensure that their constituencies are informed before and after VGGT meetings, improve the constituencies of policies and legislations as they relate to VGGT and involve the media in one of the committees