Land & Water

Strengthening civic spaces in spatial planning processes

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (FAO, 2012; hereafter referred to as the Guidelines) were unanimously adopted by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in 2012. They have enjoyed broad recognition and support internationally and have been celebrated for the inclusive and participatory process by which they were developed. Their adherence to existing international human rights law, which outlines obligations and responsibilities of state authorities and non-state actors to uphold the responsible governance of tenure, is also seen as a critical asset. The Guidelines represent internationally agreed guidance on how to recognize, protect and support legitimate tenure rights, including extra-legal individual and collective tenure rights, and those arising under customary and indigenous governance systems. This technical guide on regulated spatial planning and tenure is the twelfth in a series of technical guides in support of the implementation of the Guidelines. Referring in particular to paragraphs 20.1 to 20.5 of the Guidelines, it aims to provide guidance on the importance of safeguarding legitimate tenure rights in spatial planning processes when reconciling and harmonizing different objectives concerning the use of land, fisheries and forests. It focuses on strategies that strengthen access to information, meaningful participation, accountability and access to justice in spatial planning processes to ensure that such processes adhere to the principles put forth in the Guidelines and respect the tenure rights of people, communities and others. This focus is based on an understanding of spatial planning as an inherently social process meant to guide decisions on society’s use of a given space. Given the focus on vulnerable and marginalized communities and those often affected by a lack of recognition of their tenure rights in the Guidelines, this technical guide takes a human-rights based approach to spatial planning with the aim of strengthening civic space and encouraging spatial planning processes in line with the objectives set out by the Guidelines.

Source (link)
Socio-economic/negotiated approaches/tools
Thematic areas
Remote sensing
User Category
Technical specialist, Facilitator