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Trilateral partnership agreed with Sierra Leone

The aim is to secure tenure rights and promote responsible investment for food security in Sierra Leone

In the margins of this year's World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty in Washington, the Federal Government of Germany agreed upon a trilateral Land Partnership with the government of Sierra Leone and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

The aim of this agreement is to improve the governance of tenure of land in Sierra Leone.

Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt emphasised in Berlin on Wednesday that: "Access to land and secure land tenure rights are of existential importance in ensuring food security for the rural population of Sierra Leone. At the same time the country urgently needs investment in agriculture to promote economic growth and fight poverty. We want to use the Land Partnership to support the Sierra Leone government in creating the legal and administrative framework for responsible investment in agriculture. The aim is to strengthen the local population's tenure rights and at the same time to improve the investment climate."

Another core aim of the Land Partnership is to create a national dialogue forum, in particularly to integrate the civil society into the process of reforming national legislation in the agricultural sector.

The partnership is based on the United Nations' Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land. With the adoption of these guidelines, the international community has for the first time agreed on universally applicable standards for the recognition and protection of tenure rights and for the conducting of investments in land. Germany provided extensive political and financial support for the guidelines during the negotiating process at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

"This partnership will enable us to build on our good working relations with Sierra Leone, which go back over many years. I am delighted that we have succeeded in getting the FAO on board as the third partner," said Federal Minister Schmidt. The FAO is competent within the United Nations for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. The agricultural organisation advises a large number of countries on reforming their national legislation and administration of land.

The new Land Partnership builds on the G8 summit in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland. At the summit, the G8 States undertook to engage in bilateral partnerships to support less developed countries in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines at national level. The subject of land governance was one of the focuses of the British G8 presidency in 2013. In 2015, the states will present their first report on the results of the Land Partnerships.

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