Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

01 May 2013

Dear Friends, It is with great excitement that we recall one year ago, on 11 May 2012, the endorsement by the Committee on World Food Security of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. In this edition of the newsletter we present some of the highlights from the past year as well as the work we expect to do in the near future. 

Endorsement by CFS at special session

May 2012 - In a landmark decision the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on 11 May 2012, endorsed a set of far-reaching global guidelines aimed at helping governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries. At the endorsement, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said, "It is a historic breakthrough that countries have agreed on these first-ever global land tenure guidelines. We now have a shared vision. It's a starting point that will help improve the often dire situation of the hungry and poor". 


May & June 2012 - The Guidelines were recognized in the Declarations of the G8, the G20 and Rio+ 20 meetings. The G20 and Rio+20 documents encourage the implementation of the Guidelines and their successful conclusion was welcomed by the G8 at Camp David. 

June 2012 - FAO Council joined with CFS and requested FAO to ensure that the Guidelines be included as a priority in the new Strategic Framework that was being developed, and that they be taken into consideration in relevant work programmes. 

October 2012 - At the Committee on World Food Security’s 39th session, held from 15-20 October 2012 in Rome, a side event highlighted the linkages between the African Union/UNECA/AfDB Land Policy Initiative Framework and Guidelines and the Voluntary Guidelines. Presentations illustrated how both processes have complimented each other and how partnerships with international organizations, civil society and the private sector have been strengthened to address land policy and governance challenges in Africa. 

December 2012 - On 21 December, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which encourages countries to give due consideration to implementing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, as endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012. 

Regional Dissemination Programme 

December 2012 - From 4-6 December in Yaoundé, Cameroon, we held the first of many regional working meetings. It provided an opportunity for participants to learn more about the Guidelines, to identify ways to improve governance of tenure and to propose ideas for implementing the Guidelines. The workshop was attended by approximately one hundred participants from 14 countries representing governments, civil society, academia and regional organizations, and were drawn from land, fisheries and forest sectors.

February & April 2013 - In addition to the regional awareness raising workshop held in Cameroon, two other workshops have taken place in Rwanda and Jordan, attracting over 220 participants from 49 countries overall, including professionals working on the tenure of land, fisheries and forests in public sector, private sector, civil society organizations, academia and regional organizations. Similar workshops in other regions will be held in the coming months. 

Looking ahead 

Meeting in May

Later this month on 28 May we will mark the first year since CFS’s endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines with a meeting at FAO headquarters in Rome.

The objective of the meeting remains to keep alive the spirit of understanding, cooperation and partnership that existed during the negotiations of the Voluntary Guidelines. The meeting will provide an opportunity for an update on the work in support of implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. This update will include information on the regional dissemination programme and the emerging interest by some countries in improving tenure governance. Look for another edition of our Newsletter in a couple weeks time with links to view the proceedings! 

Completion of Regional Workshops

Three regional awareness raising workshops have taken place with more to come! Stay tuned for more information on the workshops as they will be held in different regions in the coming 5 months. 

Meetings Map

The Secretariat of the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure initiative has been actively participating in over 83 meetings and briefings in over 36 countries around the world to establish and strengthen partnerships with all stakeholders. Below you will find a map indicating the countries we have held meetings in recently. 


In the past year over 14 000 copies of the Guidelines have been distributed in over 150 countries 


In addition to the Voluntary Guidelines, FAO with its partners have produced a number of publications, including:

- Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure: At a Glance لعربية | 中文 | english | français | русский | español 

- Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure: Making it Happen لعربية | 中文 | english | français | русский | español 

- Land Tenure Journal No.1 (2012) english | français | español 

- Land Tenure Working Paper 22: Monitoring the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests: A civil society perspective english

- Land Tenure Working Paper 23: Large agricultural investments and inclusion of small farmers: lessons of case studies in 7 countries english | français 

- Land Tenure Working Paper 24: Land reform in Central and Eastern Europe after 1989 and its outcome in the form of farm structures and land fragmentation english

- Governance of Tenure Technical Guide 1: Governing land for women and men english 

More publications will become available soon, including a special edition of the Land Tenure Journal, Technical Guides and Land Tenure Working Papers. Visit our website for a full list of publications.

It has been a very exciting and fruitful year for all those involved in the work of the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure. With extreme gratitude, we look forward to the important steps we will take this coming year, and many more beyond.