FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

High Level Meeting on Responsible Governance of the Tenure of Land, Fishing and Forests in Latin America and the Caribbean

Santiago, Chile.
05-04-17 - 06-04-17


Reunión sobre Gobernanza Responsable de la Tenencia de la Tierra, la Pesca y los Bosques en ALC

Historically, the region has been one with the highest levels of inequality in the distribution and use of natural resources. This situation is partly due to the increasing concentration of the value chains, the setting up and growth of companies that exploit resources at an industrial level , supported by public policies focused on a greater participation in foreign markets for exporting and the growth of non agri- industry (tourism).

Nowadays, these political and social economic processes have generated issues related to the resources tenure governance, for the populations and the ecosystems that support the country economic growth. Among these issues we can mention (i) inequality of access to natural resources and to their management; (ii) high level of tenure informality; (iii) difficult access to natural resources of marginalized groups (women, indigenous groups, youth, small producers).

In this sense, we can highlight the important processes of land concentration during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Due to the no more bearable situation of inequality, many countries in the region began important agrarian reform processes allowing for a more equal distribution of land, allowing the development of better economic and social development policies.

The agrarian reform processes, promoted during the 50´s and 60´s in different countries in the region (in the case of Mexico, over 100 years ago), nowadays allow us to launch again a discussion about the challenge of access to land and natural resources fir the benefit of all due to a renewed tenure concentration over the last three decades.

In conjunction with these events, as from a decade ago, this tenure concentration process has been reinforced due to the simultaneous occurrence of the following crises: (i) crisis in the explosive increase in the demand for food, (ii) energy crisis which requires great volumes of land for the cultivation of biofuels, and (iii) financial crisis which returns the focus to land as a safe active for investment. This situation generates a dynamic in the land market which demands a new framework in the governance of natural resources.

On the 11th of May 2012, in the context of the World Food Security Commitee, representatives of the member states, civil societies and the private sector reached an unprecedented agreement regarding the governance of some of the most disputed natural resources in the world since the beginning of time: land, fishing and forests. This cycle of approximately four years of consultations and negotiations, have ratified and made available for the countries the Voluntary Guidelines for Responsible Governance of tenure for Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of national Food Security (VGGT). This achievement was greatly recognized, and F.A.O. has received the mandate, from the U.N. Assembly, to support the implementation of the VGGT.

The VGGT have been nourished by decades of experiences, challenges and debates regarding tenure on a global scale.Since ratification, the VGGT have been used to promote the implementation of its principles by various actors: governments, land management institutions and civil societies in all the region. As an example in the framework of the Brazil-FAO cooperation, through the “Strengthening of Spaces for Dialogue between FAO, Governments and Civil Societies: new mechanisms for public policies building, support for family farming and nutrition and food security” project, which, since 2013, has promoted a wide debate process and spreading of the VGGT. This process was carried out in conjunction with subregional actors, as in the Specialized Meeting on Family Farming of the MERCOSUR (REAF/MERCOSUR), and civil societies. The main objective was to start a process analyzing the reality of countries in the region with this instrument, seeking to interchange experiences and information regarding good practices and strategies in implementation.

To reflect jointly on these issues, the High Level Meeting about Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fishing and Forest in Latin America and the Caribean is organized.

This meeting seeks to create a platform that allows to debate the challenges regarding the governance of tenure in the region, the technical and political commitments of public agents, private entities and civil societies involved. Alongside, the meeting will also promote a reflection on the 5 years since the approval of the VGGT , analyzing the achievements and the challenges to be faced.

Main Objective
Establish a space for discussion, promotion and analysis of institutional policies and mechanisms that allow to strengthen policies and instruments focused on improving the governance of tenure of natural resources in the countries of the region.

Specific Objectives

  1. Establish a space for exchange experiences and knowledge about the mechanisms and political processes regarding the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in LAC;
  2. Share experiences and perspectives regarding the challenges of the tenure of natural resources in the countries of the region;
  3. Promote and strengthen the implementation of VGGT at all levels;
  4. Define actions and commitments in support of the countries in the midterm to strengthen mechanisms of governance of tenure and the implementation of VGGT

This high level meeting will analyze and discuss the situation of governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the region, and the main advances and challenges of the VGGT during the last 5 years. The shared diagnosis will support to generate consensus about the work perspectives for the next five years.