Governance of Tenure

Land, fisheries, forests and other natural resources provide a platform for livelihoods and a basis for social, cultural and religious practices. Pressure on these resources is increasing as areas are sought for cultivation, are occupied by urban expansion and as people abandon areas because of degradation, climate change and conflicts.

In response, FAO and its partners initiated the preparation of an unprecedented international agreement on the governance of tenure that promotes secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on 11 May 2012. Since then implementation has been encouraged by G20, Rio+ 20, United Nations General Assembly and Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.

Find out more about the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure


What is Tenure?

What is Governance of Tenure?

Tenure and its relation to hunger, poverty and the environment

Tenure is how people gain access to land, fisheries, forests and other natural resources. Having secure and equitable access to natural resources can allow people to produce food for their consumption and to increase income. Inadequate and insecure tenure rights to natural resources often result in extreme poverty and hunger.

The governance of tenure is a crucial element in determining if and how people, communities and others are able to acquire rights, and associated duties, to use and control land, fisheries and forests. Many tenure problems arise because of weak governance, and attempts to address tenure problems are affected by the quality of governance.

The eradication of hunger and poverty, and the sustainable use of the environment, depend in large measure on how people, communities and others gain access to land and other natural resources. The livelihoods of many, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to and control over these resources. They are the source of food and shelter; the basis for social, cultural and religious practices; and a central factor in economic growth.


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Contact

FAO - Climate, Energy and Tenure Division (NRC)
Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00153 Rome, Italy
Email: VG-tenure@fao.org