Land Tenure Journal, No 1 (2012)

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Improving the governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests

David Palmer, Anni Arial, Rebecca Metzner, Rolf Willmann, Eva Müller, Fred Kafeero, Eve Crowley


This is the third in a series of four papers on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure. This paper describes why the tenure of land, fisheries and forests is the focus of the Guidelines. The first paper provides an overview of the Guidelines and briefly describes tenure and the need for the Guidelines. The second paper describes the preparation of the Guidelines and the fourth one addresses the implementation of the Guidelines.

The Guidelines provide a framework that can be applied equally to land tenure, fisheries tenure and forest tenure. They recognize that there are important similarities in the tenure of land, fisheries and forests, and also intersectoral linkages. The livelihoods of many of the rural poor are diversified and are dependent on access to various natural resources. Moreover, the expansion of one type of use of a natural resource often comes at the expense of other users and uses.

The Guidelines promote improving land tenure, fisheries tenure and forest tenure, and the adoption of a coordinated approach for administering the tenure of the resources. By encouraging collaboration across sectors, the Guidelines constitute a basis for taking action on tenure in an integrated way. They equally highlight the centrality of gender equality to responsible governance of tenure.

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