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The International Year of Family Farming and the Voluntary Guidelines

Opportunities for Civil Society Engagement

The International Year of Family Farming and the Voluntary Guidelines: Opportunities for Civil Society Engagement

Thursday, 20th of June

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Austria Room

Chair: Christine Ton Nu – Vice Chairperson, Intertnational Steering Committee

To raise awareness of the importance of family farming, during 2008, the initiative to declare this year was launched by the World Rural Forum (WRF) in collaboration with major regional networks of family farmers’ organizations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2011, taking note of a proposal put forth by the Government of the Philippines, the 37th Session of the FAO Conference proposed that the United Nations declare 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming. At the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, 2014 was formally declared to be the “International Year of Family Farming” (IYFF).

This resolution invited FAO, in partnership with governments, UN agencies and civil society organizations, to facilitate the implementation of the IYFF which will highlight the importance of family farms in reducing poverty and attaining food security.  Key to the sustainability of family farms is the security of land tenure.

In May 2012 the Voluntary Guidelines were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security. The Voluntary Guidelines serve as a reference and provide key principles, to improve governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests for the benefit of all, but with an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people, by promoting the recognition, respect and safeguard of all legitimate tenure rights. The full respect, protection and realization of right to food only would be possible if access to assets (land, forest and fishery resources) is considered and adequately governed including traditional and customary rights.

Presenters/discussants included:

  • Francesco Maria Pierri, Advisor for International Affairs and Trade Promotion, Ministry of Agricultural Development of Brazil
  • Marcela Villarreal, OCP Director, IYFF Secretariat
  • Francesca Romano, Land Tenure Officer, NRC FAO
  • José Antonio Osaba, World Rural Forum
  • Francisca Rodriguez, La Via Campesina



Picture: Francisca Rodríguez from La Via Campesina