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Global Guidelines on Tenure of Land, Forests and Fisheries Adopted

11 May 2012: The 38th Session of 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. The new guidelines outline principles and practice for governments to refer to when making laws and policies on land, fisheries and forest rights. They aim to promote food security and sustainable development by improving access to resources and protecting stakeholders' rights.

The CFS is a global platform for discussions on food security issues, hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and made up of governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, agricultural research centers, financial institutions, private sector groups and philanthropic foundations. The consultation process to develop the guidelines began in 2009, initially led by the FAO.

FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva noted that the guidelines represent a shared vision on giving poor and vulnerable populations secure and equitable rights to access land and other natural resources. The guidelines were developed partially in response to "land-grabbing," and acknowledge that investment is essential to improve food security, but also that safeguards should be in place to protect tenure rights, as well as to protect human rights, livelihoods, food security and the environment. The guidelines also address issues related to accessibility and affordability of registration systems, managing forcible eviction, rights of indigenous communities, responsible agricultural investment, dispute resolution and urban expansion.

The implementation of the guidelines will be up to countries that have endorsed the guidelines, with support and assistance being offered by the FAO. The FAO anticipates development of technical handbooks to help countries adapt the guidelines to local context. [FAO Press Release] [Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security]