Governance of Tenure

Governance of tenure newsletter

01 December 2012

Dear friends,

In the short time since the endorsement of the Guidelines, first by CFS in May and then by FAO Council in June, FAO and its partners have been busy taking steps to ensure that the Guidelines’ recommendations are turned into action. 

Today (21 December), the United Nations General Assembly is expected to adopt a draft resolution which encourages the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the governance of tenure, and their speedy dissemination and promotion. This draft resolution on “Agriculture Development and Food Security” was endorsed by the Second Committee on 5 December. The draft resolution:

  • Welcomes the outcome of the thirty-eighth (special) session of the Committee on World Food Security, held in Rome on 11 May 2012, which endorsed the Guidelines;
  • Encourages countries to give due consideration to implementing the Guidelines; and
  • Requests the relevant entities of the United Nations system to ensure the speedy dissemination and promotion of the Guidelines. 

Report of the Second Committee, with the draft resolution.

Technical meeting at FAO Rome – Detailing our next steps

We have held or attended dozens of meetings since May, but this technical meeting on 4-5 October was one of upmost importance as it launched FAO’s strategic programme to support implementation of the Guidelines. It brought together over 125 participants from governments, civil society, international organizations, academia and the private sector to discuss FAO’s concept note and next steps in support to implementation. Participants built positively on the consensus developed as part of the Guidelines’ endorsement process. Concept note.

Were you at CFS 39? We were!

The Committee on World Food Security’s 39th session, held from 15-20 October in Rome provided an ideal opportunity to raise awareness of the Guidelines through posters, publications and side events. A side event on 17 October 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.

Another side event on 18 October provided a venue to present work and next steps in supporting implementation of the Guidelines. Participants (who were tightly packed in the room!) heard about the application of the Guidelines and challenges facing Sierra Leone as well as the relevance of the Guidelines to civil society and the private sector. 

Regional working meetings – one completed, more coming soon!

Last week from 4-6 December in Yaoundé, Cameroon, we held the first of many regional working meetings. This was in line with our commitment to start the regional meetings in Africa. 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. A short article of the meeting is available here in French and a meeting report stating the main outcomes will be available in January 2013.

We are currently planning other regional working meetings which will take place in the first half of 2013. 

Promotion, dissemination and awareness raising 

After the endorsement of the Guidelines, priority is being given to their dissemination as well as awareness raising activities. Communication material has been prepared to reach a very diverse target audience through various channels including videos, a new website and other information material. Our first print run of the Voluntary Guidelines, At a Glance and Making it Happen publications has already run dry! We have distributed approximately 12 750 copies of the Guidelines in 139 countries since September 2012! Our second print run is being distributed very quickly as well, but this is great news as it means more and more people will become aware of the Guidelines. 

The Guidelines are being translated into other languages

The wide dissemination of the Guidelines is encouraged to promote their use in order to improve tenure governance and contribute to food security, poverty eradication and sustainable development. The Guidelines are currently available in all six official FAO languages, however there is recognition that they should be made available in as many languages as possible.

To this end, the Secretariat on the Governance of Tenure initiative is delighted to hear from partners that translations of the Guidelines into other languages including German, Italian, Lao, Portuguese and Turkish are currently in process.

Contact [email protected] if you know of other translations that are underway or to inquire about the process for translation approval.

We are continually working on getting the word out

The Secretariat of the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure initiative has been actively participating in a number of meetings and conferences around the world to establish and strengthen partnerships with all stakeholders. Just some of the meetings we have participated in include:

  • International Anti-Corruption Conference Series, Brasilia, Brazil
  • Eighth African Development Forum, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • State Land Management Meeting in Budapest, Hungary
  • Committee on World Food Security, Rome, Italy
  • International Conference on Forest Tenure, Hangzhou, China
  • Ministerial Conference on Food Security in Drylands, Doha, Qatar
  • United Nations Country Team, Yangon, Myanmar
  • United Nations Headquarters, New York, USA
  • European Development Days, Brussels, Belgium
  • Geneva-based United Nations Organizations, Geneva, Switzerland

Below you will find a map indicating the countries we have held meetings in recently.

A thematic issue of the peer-reviewed FAO Land Tenure Journal (1/2012) helps to better understand the contents of the Guidelines, their development process, their thematic focus and the strategies for their implementation. This is the main reference document on the initiative. You can read and download the articles here. We are also looking forward to receiving your articles on governance of tenure. For more information contact [email protected].

Coming soon: Technical Guide on Gender

The Technical Guide on Gender-equitable Governance of Land Tenure will be launched at the Gender and Land Governance Conference, in Utrecht, Netherlands on 14-15 January 2013. This technical guide aims to assist implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines by providing guidance that supports the Guidelines’ principle of gender equality in tenure governance. The guide focuses on equity and on how land tenure can be governed in ways that address the different needs and priorities of women and men. It moves away from long-standing debates about gender equality in access to land, towards the mainstreaming of gender issues to achieve more gender-equitable participation in the processes and institutions that underlie all decision-making about land.

New publications online 

Our latest publications can now be downloaded from the web:

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

Governance of Tenure: Making it happen: 
لعربية 中文 | English | français español

Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure: 
At a Glance:
لعربية 中文 | English | français | español

Our Newsletter has a new look!

As you have probably noticed, we have changed the layout and design of our newsletter. We hope that the new design is more visually stimulating and also provides you with more information. Let us know what you think of the new design! Write to us at [email protected].

Opinions on the Guideline

Participants of the October 2011 intergovernmental negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (Guidelines) express their opinions on the importance of the Guidelines, their development process and how they can be implemented. The Guidelines were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS).
Read the press release:  中文  |English | Français | Español | Italiano