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Tenure is crucial to the livelihoods of billions of people. For many, their food security is linked to their tenure security. People with weak, insecure tenure rights risk losing their means to support themselves if they lose their access to natural resources. Women often have weaker tenure rights where there is discrimination in laws and customs. Tenure systems define who can use which natural resources, for how long and under what conditions. Many tenure problems are caused by weak governance and attempts to address them are affected by the quality of governance.

FAO’s role in tenure?

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.

The Guidelines are available in several languages