About the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure

About the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

An unprecedented international agreement on the governance of tenure

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security promote 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. They were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012. Since then implementation has been encouraged by G20, Rio+ 20, United Nations General Assembly and Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.

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Participants of the October 2011 intergovernmental negotiations on the Guidelines express their opinions on the importance of the Guidelines, their development process and how they can be implemented.



Land Tenure Journal Thematic issue on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

This issue of the FAO Land Tenure Journal focuses on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. It brings together four articles that will help to better understand the contents of the Guidelines, their development process, their thematic focus and the strategies for their implementation. Download the publication.


What is the purpose of the Guidelines?

The Guidelines promote responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, with respect to all forms of tenure: public, private, communal, indigenous, customary, and informal.

Their overarching goals are to achieve food security for all and support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the Guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development. The Guidelines are meant to benefit all people in all countries, although there is an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people.

The Guidelines serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities. They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.


How were the Guidelines developed?

The Guidelines were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in May 2012. The CFS is the top forum of the United Nations for reviewing and following up policies concerning world food security. The text of the Guidelines was finalized during CFS-led intergovernmental negotiations, which were held in July and October 2011 and in March 2012.

The Guidelines were developed through a broad global partnership of international, regional and national organizations of different types that work together to achieve global changes in governance of tenure. The development followed an inclusive process involving a series of consultations and negotiation.

CONSULTATION 2009 - 2010

NEGOTIATION 2011-2012

ENDORSEMENT 2012


  • Ten regional, one private sector and four civil society consultation meetings were organized between September 2009 and November 2010. These meetings brought together almost 1 000 people from over 130 countries. The participants represented government institutions, civil society, private sector, academia and UN agencies. Each consultation meeting resulted in an assessment identifying issues and actions to be included in the Guidelines in the context of governance of tenure.


  • The Zero Draft was prepared following the conclusion of the consultation process, and an electronic consultation was organized in April/May 2011.
  • The First Draft incorporated proposals that were received from the public and private sectors, civil society and academia.
  • The final version of the Guidelines was prepared through intergovernmental negotiations led by the CFS in July and October 2011 and March 2012.


  • The Guidelines were endorsed by the 38th (Special) Session of the CFS on 11 May 2012.

 

 

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

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