Countries adopt global guidelines on tenure of land, forests, fisheries
FAO release, 11 May 2012

ROME, ITALY: In a landmark decision, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed the new Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, which outline principles and practices that governments can refer to when making laws and administering land, fisheries and forest rights. The guidelines are based on an inclusive consultation process started by FAO in 2009 and then finalized through CFS-led intergovernmental negotiations. They address a wide range of issues, including: recognition and protection of legitimate tenure rights, even under informal systems; best practices for registration and transfer of tenure rights; managing expropriations and restitution of land to people who were forcibly evicted in the past; rights of indigenous communities; ensuring that investment in agricultural lands occurs responsibly and transparently; and mechanisms for resolving disputes over tenure rights. Much public debate has focused on the so-called “land-grabbing” phenomenon, which is one of the issues dealt with in the guidelines. While the guidelines acknowledge that responsible investments by the public and private sectors are essential for improving food security, they also recommend that safeguards be put in place to protect tenure rights of local people from risks that could arise from large-scale land acquisitions, and also to protect human rights, livelihoods, food security and the environment. Regarding next steps, FAO will develop a series of technical handbooks designed to help countries adapt the guidelines to their local contexts and put them into play. Read the release … Download the Voluntary Guidelines [pdf] … Read a BBC article on adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines …