Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

01 November 2014

Integration of the Voluntary Guidelines into Land Policy in Guatemala

On 28 October 2014, in El Palmar, Quetzaltenango, the Government of Guatemala presented a new land policy, which will facilitate access to land by the rural poor and help resolve land disputes in the country. The new land policy (part of the overall Rural Development Policy “Política Nacional de Desarrollo Rural Integral”) aims at promoting sustainable development through access to land, legal certainty and security of land tenure, land conflict resolution as well as access to other productive assets that contribute to family farming and more broadly, to attract investments in agriculture.

The Secretaría de Asuntos Agrarios and the Land Fund, with support from FAO, worked to integrate the Voluntary Guidelines into a new policy framework. The result is the new land policy, which reflects the main concepts and approaches of the Voluntary Guidelines. It recognizes and strengthens indigenous communal systems of land tenure and management, including land law and jurisdiction. It also recognizes and promotes women’s rights to land and seeks to promote the rural economy and contribute to the competitiveness of rural areas and their full integration into the national economy. The next step will be the implementation of the new policy, which will start early 2015. FAO will continue to provide technical assistance to its implementation.       

Issues and trends on land investments

Marcela Villarreal, FAO’s Director for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development and Francesca Romano, FAO Land Tenure Officer, were recently interviewed by “La Repubblica”, one of Italy’s leading newspapers, in relation to the phenomenon of “land grabbing”.

In the interview they provide an overview of issues and trends associated with land investments, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the risks connected with such investments particularly in case of weak governance of tenure. Villarreal and Romano highlight the key role played by small scale farmers as investors in the agricultural sector and focuse on the opportunity provided by the Voluntary Guidelines to promote investments consistent with their principles.       


National workshop in Mongolia

Over 80 stakeholders, including Government, civil society, the private sector, academia and international organizations, discussed the way forward in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines in Mongolia at a workshop in Ulan Bator from 28-31 October 2014. The workshop gave participants an opportunity to gain or increase knowledge of the Voluntary Guidelines and to discuss entry points and priorities for their sustainable implementation in Mongolia. It was the first of a planned series of workshops that are part of a two year project to support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines in Mongolia. The participants showed exceptional commitment and dedication to the proceedings of the workshop. One of the concrete outcomes was the decision to finalize the translation of the Voluntary Guidelines into Mongolian and to develop additional information resources and disseminate them widely.  The workshop was co-organized by the Ministry of Industry and Agriculture, and was financially supported by Germany.

Workshop on Spatial Data Infrastructure and Open Data in Central and Eastern Europe

A joint workshop on Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) and Open Data in Central and Eastern Europe brought together leading experts within these fields to discuss how to explore synergies and find means to establish joint actions on interoperability and open data related matters. Good practices ranging from regional to national and international scales were presented. While countries from the region have the basic systems to produce, maintain and share data, there are further requests for support in building their national SDIs, provide new e-services and improve data quality. The discussions outlined possible avenues for more active cooperation of all stakeholders and exchanges of experiences in the future. A plan for joint activities in 2015 was prepared as part of the workshop conclusion.

The workshop was held in Belgrade on 4 November 2014 and organized by the Directorate General Joint Research Centre (DG JRC) of the European Commission, World Bank, FAO and the Republic Geodetic Authority of Serbia.

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Benchmarking of land administration systems

UAVOn 27-28 November 2014 a workshop was held on benchmarking land administration systems and theUAV implementation of the Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) in the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The event took place in in Baku, Azerbaijan, and was hosted by UNECE’s Working Party on Land Administration (WPLA), the World Bank, the State Committee on Property Issues of the Republic of Azerbaijan and FAO.

 UNECE WPLA has recently published a study of land administration systems in countries of the UNECE region, including information on the efficiency of their services, the security of their data and their ability to recover data and services in the event of a disaster. The study allows for the sharing of experiences in different countries in the region on establishing and managing land administration systems. In addition, results and lessons learned from the completed LGAF in Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine were presented and the next priorities within this field were shared.

Link to workshopLink to study     


Endorsement of the Principles for Responsible Investments in Agriculture and Food Systems

On 16 October, the Committee for World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the recently negotiated principles to guide investment in agriculture and food systems. The Principles are linked to the Voluntary Guidelines in Principle 5:

Principle 5: Respect tenure of land, fisheries, forests and access to water 25. Responsible investment in agriculture and food systems respects legitimate tenure rights to land, fisheries, and forests, as well as existing and potential water uses in line with: i)  The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, in particular, but not limited to, Chapter 12. ii) The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication.

CFS 41 Final Report
FAO Press release 


France provides a guide to due diligence of agribusiness projects that affect land and property rights. France played an active role in the international debates that led to the formulation of the Voluntary Guidelines, and has decided to require its own public operators (AFD, PROPARCO) to respect them. This guide has a holistic analytical framework which includes the Voluntary Guidelines and which could be used by any institution/ company when developing its internal procedures for considering land-based agriculture investments.

Website    Publication                                                                          -                                                                                      


New e-learning course: Addressing corruption in the tenure of land, fisheries and forests. This e-learning course provides an overview of corrupt practices in the tenure sector. It analyses the drivers and impact of corruption on the livelihoods and food security of poor and vulnerable people. The course also introduces a series of options and tools that key players, including states, organizations and citizens can utilize to identify, assess and tackle corruption.

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Albanian versions of the Voluntary Guidelines and"Governing land for women and men" are now available

The Voluntary Guidelines and the technical guide on Governing land for women and men are now available in Albanian. The translations were funded by UN Women (Albania) with support from FAO.

Albanian version of Governing land for women and men 
Albanian  version of the Voluntary Guidelines