FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

International tenure guidelines roll out across Eastern Europe, Central Asia

The food security of billions of people worldwide depends on how secure their tenure is over the land, forests and fisheries they own or manage. That’s why FAO is rolling out the internationally agreed “Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure” with a series of technical awareness-raising workshops across Europe and Central Asia starting today.

Seven workshops will be organized between now and the end of 2015, in Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova and Tajikistan.

The Voluntary Guidelines, endorsed in 2012 by the Committee on World Food Security, represent the first global consensus on what it means to improve the conditions under which land is owned and managed. The goal of the workshops is to create a critical mass of informed tenure professionals, and to discuss ways in which the Voluntary Guidelines could be put into practice in each country.

Eleven regional awareness and information workshops for tenure have already been conducted in other FAO regions. Feedback confirms the high demand for awareness raising, particularly at country level.

Access to land, forestry and fisheries is fundamental for food and shelter, is an element of social-cultural and religious practices, and underpins economic growth. So the Voluntary Guidelines are also intended to contribute to poverty eradication, sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development.

Workshop participants are a representative mix of people working on tenure issues in government agencies, civil society organizations, academia, the private sector, and regional and international organizations. The idea is to encourage dialogue across sectors, establish new networks and strengthen existing ones.

“For the diffusion of land tenure principles, it is crucial to reach a critical mass of informed people in each country,” said Morten Hartvigsen, FAO land tenure officer. “We expect that the mainstreaming of the Voluntary Guidelines among key institutions and people who are dealing with tenure of land, fisheries and forests will improve the governance of these.”

The workshop series will also contribute to the empowerment of smallholders and support family farms as they seek to improve their livelihoods and manage natural resources sustainably.

26 October 2015, Chisinau, Moldova