Gouvernance foncière

Governance of tenure newsletter - November 2023

14 November 2023

The “Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security” are referred to as the “Voluntary Guidelines" or the VGGT in this newsletter.

Land Tenure Insecurity in Nepal: A Barrier to Women's Participation in Climate Action

By Marianna Bicchieri

Land Tenure Insecurity in Nepal


The Building a Resilient Churia Region in Nepal (BRCRN) project operates in 26 vital river systems, championing the adoption of climate-resilient land-use practices and addressing challenges of deforestation and forest degradation. Despite these efforts, a significant obstacle hampers progress: land tenure insecurity severely limits women's active involvement in climate action.

In rural areas, despite supportive legal frameworks, customary practices often relegate women to land users without ownership rights. Land ownership, a marker of social status, predominantly belongs to men. This exclusion bars women from decision-making forums, hindering their meaningful participation and access to capacity development activities essential for climate action. Consequently, women's specific needs are often overlooked in sustainable natural resource management initiatives.

Recognizing these challenges, BRCRN has been implementing a gender transformative approach, aiming to address the root causes of gender inequality. Operating on various levels— individual, household, community, and institutional — the project challenges entrenched patriarchal values in Nepal. Through targeted capacity development and advocacy activities, BRCRN aims to address discriminatory social norms and power dynamics that hinder women's participation, especially among marginalized groups.

By empowering women and challenging societal norms, BRCRN strives to create an inclusive environment where every woman's voice is heard, ensuring their active participation (at least 50%) in climate action initiatives. Through these efforts, the project aims not only to address immediate challenges but also to create an enabling environment for gender equality and women’s empowerment, where their statutory land rights can finally be recognized.

Grassroots on women's land rights using digital technology

By Huda Alsahi

Grassroots on women's land rights


In 2022, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) formed a partnership with Amplio Network to launch a pilot initiative utilizing the Amplio Talking Book as a means to address various barriers in the West Nile subregion. This initiative aimed to enhance knowledge regarding women's land rights and their roles in agriculture, raise awareness about restrictive social norms hindering women's land ownership, and support the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests for National Food Security.

The pilot initiative was conducted in the Adjumani and Moyo districts, chosen due to FAO's existing presence in the area and established relationships with local farmers' associations. To ensure the initiative’s success, FAO and Amplio collaborated closely with a local expert in social- and behavior-change communications (SBCC) in Uganda. They initiated formative research, engaging with key stakeholders, including traditional leaders and community development officers, to comprehend community issues, barriers, and concerns. A participatory approach was prioritized throughout the content design process.

The messaging strategy began by illustrating the connections between land rights, agriculture, and economic impact, emphasizing the benefits to the entire community when women's land rights are upheld. The content covered topics such as women's agricultural roles, the legal framework for land rights, dispute resolution, access to resources, customary land rights, decision-making, and gender-based violence prevention. Content was creatively delivered through songs, dramas, and poems, featuring both men's and women's voices, all recorded in the local language of Madi.

The working team continuously monitored device usage, offered technical support, and gathered Talking Book usage statistics and user feedback, providing insights into which topics resonated most with the community. In total, the Talking Book pilot reached 11 020 people across 2 755 households in the West Nile subregion, effectively increasing awareness of women's land rights. The pilot initiative demonstrated the Talking Book's effectiveness as a gender-responsive tool for engaging rural communities and reshaping perceptions about gender norms, highlighting its potential as a social- and behavior-change communications strategy.

Empowering Women through Land Tenure Rights in Indigenous Communities

By Monica Coy and Maria Paola Rizzo

Land Tenure Rights in Indigenous Communities

© FAO/Monica Coy

In the lush landscapes of Guatemala's Polochic Valley, a groundbreaking Joint Program is reshaping the narrative of land tenure rights. This initiative, involving 840 families from 10 indigenous and peasant communities, focuses on securing a sustainable future while promoting gender equality.

At the heart of this project lies the vital principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). It's an acknowledgment of the communities' right to decide their own destiny concerning land use and management. Notably, the project has empowered "Cultural Mediators" including two women and eight men, who play pivotal roles in decision-making and overseeing project implementation.

An important aspect of these land- (and forest-) water nexuses is the diversity of laws from which they emanate – including national constitutions, water, land, agricultural, forest, and environmental framework laws, among others. This diversity underlines the need for improved legal harmonization across sectoral laws. Land and forest laws frequently mention water only implicitly and water laws rarely speak directly to the legal status of communities’ customary or collective water resource rights. This means that, while the land-water nexus provides more options for the recognition of communities’ water rights, where there are contradictions or lack of clarity between laws, communities’ water rights can be left open to legal challenges.

Crucially, the program addresses diverse land tenure situations, including communities that endured violent evictions and those striving to gain legal recognition of their land rights. With the assistance of the of Guatemala “Fondo de Tierras” and FAO, they are moving closer to achieving secure land tenure. In the pursuit of responsible land governance, the program introduced the Open Tenure tool, providing technical assistance to community leaders. Notably, the project emphasizes gender inclusivity and highlights that gender disparities still exist at the household level.

The Joint Program's focus on women's land tenure rights is a beacon of hope for indigenous and peasant communities. It champions gender equality, empowers local leaders, and ensures that the voices of women resonate in crucial decisions about land use and management. As the program continues to evolve, it not only secures land but also secures a brighter, more equitable future for the women who have long been the backbone of these communities. In doing so, it sets an inspiring example for responsible land governance and gender equality across the globe.

GeoTech4Tenure: a path to gender transformation through capacity development

By Maria Paola Rizzo



The GeoTech4Tenure (GT4T) initiative, a collaborative effort between the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), is supporting gender transformation by equipping projects and government staff, individuals and communities with the capacity and tools to secure women's land rights. At the heart of this initiative GT4T is placing a capacity development guide that explores opportunities, challenges, benefits, and invaluable lessons learned from combining participatory methodologies and geospatial technologies.

The initiative will not overcome existing challenges. The digital divide, especially in remote areas, often poses a significant obstacle. However, GT4T explores how to meet this challenge head-on by leveraging innovative solutions. Mobile applications and community-based training have bridged the gap, ensuring that geospatial technologies are accessible to all.

In this way, GT4T also highlights the transformative potential of secure land rights.

By involving local communities and women in an inclusive land mapping process, it unlocks opportunities for economic empowerment, participatory decision making, and sustainable land use. These opportunities go beyond access to land and tenure security. They underpin comprehensive gender transformation.

Noticeably, the benefits of the GT4T approach are far-reaching. Secure land rights empower women to access credit, invest in education, and enhance their livelihoods. Beyond these individual gains, the initiative promotes community cohesion by reducing conflicts over land and water resources.

Indeed, GT4T imparts valuable lessons on the power of collaboration, innovation, and gender sensitivity. It underscores the significance of community involvement, data quality, and technology accessibility. Above all, it demonstrates how secure land rights can catalyze gender transformation.

In conclusion, GT4T is more than a capacity development initiative. It is a catalyst for change. By seizing opportunities, addressing challenges, and reaping the benefits, this initiative paves the way for gender transformation that promises lasting empowerment for women and their communities worldwide.

Recent Publications


Achieving SDG indicator 5.a.2 in the Western Balkans and beyond

FAO and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have been providing support to the Western Balkans region to promote progress on gender equality, with a focus on measuring the proportion of countries where the legal framework guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.


Guidelines on strengthening gender equality in land registration – Southeast Europe 2021

The present Guidelines form part of a joint effort by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to help countries achieve indicator 5.a.2 of Target 5.a in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations in 2015.


FAO report The Status of Women in Agrifood Systems

The status of women in agrifood systems report uses extensive new data and analyses to provide a comprehensive picture of women’s participation, benefits, and challenges they face working in agrifood systems globally. The report shows how increasing women’s empowerment and gender equality in agrifood systems enhances women’s well-being and the well-being of their households, creating opportunities for economic growth, greater incomes, productivity and resilience.


Lessons learned from the introduction of land consolidation in North Macedonia during 2014–2023

Since 2014, North Macedonia has developed into the flagship country for FAO support to land consolidation in Europe and Central Asia. The first small technical assistance project began in 2014. During 2017–2022, support to the national land consolidation programme was scaled up with European Union IPA funding through the FAO-implemented MAINLAND project.

Other publications



A wide variety of e-learning courses are available on the Responsible Governance of Tenure. Learn about:

  • making access to land, fisheries and forests more equitable
  • how to protect people's tenure rights
  • options to simplify the administration of tenure and make it accessible to all
  • how to ensure disputes are resolved before they degenerate into conflict