TMG Think Tank for Sustainability

As a think tank focusing on “how” to transition to sustainability, TMG Research works at the interface of questions around food security, climate resilience, and ecosystem restoration.

The evidence is clear, there can be no just transitions towards climate-resilient and land degradation-neutral landscapes without securing the legitimate land tenure rights of those who live and work on the land.

Jes Weigelt

TMG Research



We co-hosted four side events at the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP 15), which took place on 9-20 May 2022. These events explored practical entry points to empower communities that depend most on land and natural resources to claim their legitimate rights and fulfil their rightful roles as stewards of these precious resources for the benefit of people and planet. The connecting link across these events was the importance of protecting legitimate land rights to achieve the Convention's objectives of combating desertification, land degradation and drought, and scaling up ecosystem restoration.

We brought together our local, national and international partners to practically demonstrate how we initiate change processes to advance the "the governance of sustainability" at multiple levels. Our COP 15 activities highlighted insights from years of work to connect the dots between local "social innovations" - co-designed by TMG and its partners to strengthen access to land for women, youth and other marginalised groups - and land governance frameworks at the national and higher levels.

Our landscape, our rights, our investment
Securing Landscape Rights as a Catalyst to Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality
Rights, Rewards and Responsibilities: Achieving restoration objectives through safeguarding legitimate tenure rights
Food Day @ Rio Pavilion - Seeds of Change for a Nature Positive Future
Securing Land Tenure Rights to Achieve Land Degradation Neutrality, Land-based Adaptation, and Responses to Drought
Watch the recap video

Coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries (VGGT) on 12 May, we unveiled a comprehensive online tool, the Human Rights and Land Navigator.

The Navigator draws on an extensive database of international human rights standards and links them to individual paragraphs of the VGGT. The fundamental objective of the tool is to demonstrate the link between specific questions around access to land and resources and their human rights underpinnings. This provides practical entry points for land rights defenders, human rights bodies, and decision makers at different levels to advocate for and monitor progress on land governance instruments.

The story does not end here. We also contributed directly to land tenure negotiations, building on our partnerships with four African governments to monitor the implementation of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) projects from a human rights lens.

Parties have reiterated their intent to apply the principles of the VGGT in their national programmes to combat desertification, land degradation and drought. We will continue to support parties and work with stakeholders and broad alliances of actors to make the content of this decision a reality.

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TMG Think Tank for Sustainability consists of TMG Research gGmbH, an independent, non-partisan, non-for-profit organization registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 186018 B, USt.-ID: DE311653675) and TMG - Töpfer, Müller, Gaßner GmbH, a private company registered in Berlin (District Court Charlottenburg, HRB 177576 B USt.-ID: DE306832549).

Our main address is EUREF Campus 6-9, 10829 Berlin, Germany.

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