Governance of Tenure

VGGT 10th Anniversary

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security (CFS VGGT) promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development, and enhancing the environment.

These guidelines were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in May 2012, after an inclusive stakeholder consultation. They serve as a highly-respected global policy tool that can guide countries in the development of practices for the responsible governance of tenure, following a human-rights-based approach.

Since the adoption of the guidelines, a wealth of technical guides, case studies, good practices, and lessons learned have been amassed to strengthen responsible governance of tenure and to promote sustainable management of natural resources – specifically land, fisheries and forests.

In spite of the fact that the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests are necessary for the achievement of nearly every Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), the world’s attention to this matter has sadly dropped off of the global list of priorities. This undermines efforts to foster sustainable food systems, as well as to fortify the protection of human rights.

We are not at all on track to achieve the SDG targets by 2030 and the world is currently facing unprecedented challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity, climate change, land degradation, biodiversity loss and ecosystem disruption, water scarcity, forced migration and conflicts.

To overcome these challenges, it is crucial that governments and their development partners take stock of lessons learned and double down on efforts in strengthening the responsible governance of the tenure of land, fisheries and forests.

Today, 10 years after the adoption of these guidelines, it is important to increase the visibility of the CFS VGGT and to recognize the achievements that were accomplished with regard to the responsible governance of tenure. It is also important to reflect critically on the challenges and obstacles that were encountered in relation to the implementation of the guidelines. Renewed efforts to address challenges such as pervasive land tenure inequality, food insecurity of large segments of rural households and increasing land degradation and deforestation, are urgently needed, in order to secure access to land and other natural resources, especially for vulnerable and marginalized communities.

The 10th Anniversary of the CFS VGGT is a great opportunity to recommit to their guiding principles and to strengthen funding and political support. It is more important now than ever before to achieve inclusive, equitable and secure tenure rights and to pave the path for a rural transformation that leaves no one behind.