Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

01 March 2016

General Recommendation on the rights of rural women

On 3 March 2016 the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women adopted a General Recommendation on the rights of rural women that identifies the Voluntary Guidelines as a standard for gender mainstreaming. The General Recommendation calls on states to integrate and mainstream a gender perspective in all agricultural and rural development policies, strategies, plans and programmes, enabling rural women to act and be visible as stakeholders, decision-makers and beneficiaries, in line with the Voluntary Guidelines on tenure, and the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication. This call is placed within a recognition of the unique situation of rural women, their contribution to poverty reduction, food and nutrition security and the sustainable management of natural resources.
Read the General Recommendation


© FAO / Ami Vitale

Indigenous leaders and activists working for the advancement of Indigenous Peoples’ rights (particularly on rights to lands, territories and resources) are exploring practical actions to improve their governance of tenure through the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. This follows training received at workshops in Guwahati (Assam, 10-12 November 2015) and Jharsuguda (Odisha, 15-17 November 2015). The 50 participants agreed on an action plan to replicate the training in their communities and to conduct research on the main challenges encountered by Indigenous Peoples in relation to tenure, the legal framework, the competent authorities and institutions and the procedures that Indigenous Peoples can apply. The work is part of a capacity development programme to facilitate the dialogue among Indigenous Peoples to define priorities of their communities regarding the governance of tenure. Following the activities at the community level, a national training workshop will be organized in New Delhi. The programme was developed by FAO together with the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and with financial support from the Swiss Development Agency. 



More than 40 experts discussed the application of the Voluntary Guidelines as a tool to improve governance of tenure of land, forests and rangelands in the Islamic Republic of Iran at a workshop held in Tehran during 21-23 February 2016. Participants included government officials from the national and decentralized level and academia with expertise in the administration of land, forests and rangelands, extension services and women’s affairs. The workshop resulted in a 26-point work plan that firmly links to ongoing national efforts to improve governance of tenure. The workshop was organized by the Land Affairs Organization of the Ministry of Jihade-e-Agriculture and FAO. 


  © FAO / Yasuyoshi Chiba

Consultation workshops in four provinces (Toliary, Fianarantsoa, Toamasina and Antananarivo) were held as part of the land policy reform process during 17 November and 4 December 2015. They brought together around 480 participants including citizens, researchers, civil society organizations, government representatives, development partners, private sector, and traditional and indigenous leaders. The workshops enabled participants to exchange views on the future of land governance in the provinces and helped them to understand how to apply the Voluntary Guidelines as they support and contribute to the reform process. Selected representatives carried the recommendations forward by consolidating them in a regional proposal to be included in the National Tenure Programme. The workshops were organized with the technical and financial support of FAO.


  © FAO / P. Johnson

Land-related barriers to the post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction, and the context of tenure implications in the new Constitution of Nepal were the focus of the second national workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines, held in Lalitpur during 14-16 December 2015. Over 50 people from government and civil society participated in the workshop, which highlighted the relevance of the Voluntary Guidelines in programmes and policies following disasters. The workshop served to improve the understanding of tenure implications and identify priorities in the post-disaster context, and emphasized the importance of a participatory and inclusive approach. It also provided the opportunity to follow up on the progress made since the first multi-stakeholder workshop held in December 2014. The event was organized by the Ministry of Land Reform and Management with the support of FAO and UN-Habitat, and with financial support from the United Kingdom (DFID). Food First Information and Action Network Nepal provided facilitation and logistics. Following the workshop, the Ministry shared the recommendations with development partners, seeking their support in implementation.

Russian Federation

  © FAO / Federica Gabellini

The Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography (Rosreestr) has expressed its readiness to promote awareness of the Voluntary Guidelines among other Russian ministries and agencies dealing with natural resources, such as forests and water. At a meeting in Rome in January, Rosreestr and FAO agreed to enhance their cooperation on improving governance of land tenure. The priority areas identified include capacity development, joint innovation projects on improving property valuation, and the use of high-resolution satellite imagery, unmanned aerial vehicles and crowdsourcing platforms. The Russian Federation has worked to improve land administration during the past 15 years with the support of FAO, through its Cooperative Programme with the World Bank, in the areas of information technology, spatial data infrastructure, property valuation and taxation. This joint effort has increased the transparency of the property registration process and improved public services. 

Read the press release in English and Russian

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia


Discussions at a national workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines revealed that tenure rights are protected and the legal system is well developed although at times the law regulates matters that would be better addressed in by-laws. This results in frequent amendments of laws, creating confusion for their implementation. The perceived high transaction costs of registration for agriculture land were seen as contributing to informal land transactions and preventing the development of a land market. Women’s de facto enjoyment of their ownership rights over land was also shown to be limited. Main recommendations included strengthening the implementation and monitoring capacities of the relevant institutions and ensuring that all stakeholders, women and men, are better informed of their rights and obligations. The workshop, held in Skopje during 25-26 January, was attended by 25 participants from government, civil society, private sector and academia. It was part of FAO’s “Regional Initiative on Empowering Smallholders and Family Farms”. 


  © FAO / Isaac Kasamani

The Voluntary Guidelines and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa have been adopted as a framework for coordination among development partners in Uganda. A Land Development Partners Group was established at the request of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development to ensure more coordinated support in the land sector. The group, co-chaired by the European Union and FAO, has committed to promote the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa and the Voluntary Guidelines in future programmes on land and other natural resources to avoid negative impacts and ensure future sustainability.