Committee on World Food Security

Making a difference in food security and nutrition

11 May 2022 | Remarks by CFS Chair at the UNCCD COP15 Launch of the FAO-UNCCD Technical Guide on Responsible Governance of Tenure and Land Degradation Neutrality

11 May 2022

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Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to address you today as we gather for the launch the FAO-UNCCD “Technical Guide on the Integration of the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security -  the CFS VGGT - into the Implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)”.

While I was in Abidjan the last few days and met with many of you, I am afraid I had to leave for the FAO Regional Conference for Europe where we are discussing urgent measures needed to address current global food system challenges and how the FAO and CFS are contributing to ending hunger and malnutrition.

At a challenging time like this, land governance and secure tenure are mission critical. Land is our number one lifeline; when healthy and well managed, it supports biodiversity; water; crops, forests and livestock; tradition and cultures; and not least, the livelihoods of those who rely upon its resources.

As such, this guide is a critical resource in our quest for responsible land governance.

The timing of this launch could not be more appropriate as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the CFS VGGT. As Chairperson of the CFS which endorsed the CFS-VGGT in 2012 I am thrilled to see the guidelines are at the heart of this initiative and I congratulate FAO and UNCCD for highlighting, through this technical guide, the multiple ways in which responsible land governance and improved tenure security can accelerate progress towards LDN and other restoration commitments.

Through its special focus on poor and vulnerable rural communities where land is often the most important asset the guide shows how secure tenure rights contribute to multiple benefits in terms of poverty reduction and increased food security and nutrition, reminding us all that without tenure security it will not be possible to achieve sustainable development that “leaves no one behind”.

Land and its governance is the bedrock upon which all other food security and nutrition efforts are built.  Land is the support of soils; of biodiversity; of water; of crops, trees and livestock; of farmers’ livelihoods and cultures; not least, of the harvesting of renewable energies.


Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

We commemorate this tenth anniversary, rather than celebrate it, because the fact is that while the CFS VGGT are now being used in a variety of powerful, meaningful ways, including by two of the three Rio Conventions, there is still a substantial gap between global guidance and norms and practice in many countries.

Secure land tenure rights are simply not where they need to be to meet the ambition of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. We need to act now in this Decade of Action to really manage our resources sustainably, especially to improve the way land is used and governed, and how basic human rights are protected in doing so.

The Committee on World Food Security is delighted to contribute to those efforts, to celebrate your accomplishments to date, and to showcase success stories with the goal of scaling up even more action where it is needed most.

Please I invite you to join us on May 27, when we hold a high-level event to commemorate the CFS Voluntary Guidelines jointly with our FAO colleagues, which is among the strongest advocate of the Guidelines, along with IFAD, the World Bank, International Land Coalition, and many of our Member countries.

I thank you all and wish you very fruitful discussions.