How can the profession work to help tackle world hunger and poverty? I’ve been working with a team of experts from around the world, led by Prof Pete Wyatt - Henley Business School, part of the University of Reading, to produce a guide which will do just that by focusing on improving the land valuation process in developing nations.

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Valuations of tenure rights are required by the state and by the private sector for a wide variety of reasons, often forming and informing the basis of transactions, taxation, compensation and accounting. Value and the valuation process have a direct legal and financial impact on our everyday lives, and yet they are often shrouded in mystery and not clearly understood.

About this guide

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in May 2012 to provide guidance to improve the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests and have since helped to raise awareness that secure tenure is critical for food security.

By endorsing responsible governance and setting out principles and standards to assist stakeholders when establishing land tenure policy, the VGGT contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development. This is therefore important across a range of sustainable development goals. The guidelines are meant to benefit all people in all countries, with an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalised people.

In the five years since the VGGT endorsement, a number of technical guides have been prepared by technical specialists to develop capacity and assist in their implementation.Prof Pete Wyatt - Henley Business School, part of the University of Reading - led the compilation of a technical guide on the valuation of land. Central to the technical guide, aimed predominantly at developing countries, is a set of recommendations for valuation that comply with international norms in relation to fairness, transparency, gender equality and free prior informed consent.

The technical guide was co-authored by 14 international valuation experts and provides examples of why land valuations are needed for food security as well as to protect social and religious activities, all of which are vulnerable to urban expansion, increased cultivation, climate change and conflict. It also lays out how valuations are undertaken in countries where land tenure rights might be formalised and in countries where land rights are customary.

To help better manage land – as a resource for sustainable use and as a habitat for protection – the guide explains how to consider its value both in purely economic terms and in wider social and environmental terms. It will be instrumental in developing capacities to improve tenure governance, by enabling valuation of tenure rights, and thereby assist countries in applying VGGT.

What does this mean for our professionals?

The guide promotes best practice that in in-line with RICS Standards and Guidance in Valuation (Red Book). This gives great credibility to the work undertaken by RICS Professionals operating in developing economies in that their work meets the requirements set out in the UNFAO. The guide also highlights the importance of Valuation as a key performance indicator that should be used by development agencies when initiating and reviewing the performance of a wide range of projects.

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