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Governance of Tenure: FAO technical guides

The Governance of Tenure technical guides are part of FAO’s initiative to help develop capacities to improve tenure governance and thereby assist countries in applying the Voluntary Guidelines. They are prepared by technical specialists and can be used by a range of actors to translate principles of the Guidelines into practical mechanisms, processes and actions; give examples of good practice – what has worked, where, why and how; provide useful tools for activities such as the design of policy and reform processes, for the design of investment projects and for guiding interventions.

View technical guides

  1. Governing land for women and men: A technical guide to support the achievement of responsible gender-equitable governance of land tenure
  2. Improving governance of forest tenure: A practical guide
  3. Respecting free, prior and informed consent: Practical guidance for governments, companies, NGOs, indigenous peoples and local communities in relation to land acquisition
  4. Safeguarding land tenure rights in the context of agricultural investments: A technical guide for government authorities involved with the promotion, approval and monitoring of agricultural investments
  5. Responsible governance of tenure and the law: A guide for lawyers and other legal service providers
  6. Improving governance of pastoral lands
  7. Responsible governance of tenure: A technical guide for investors
  8. Governing tenure rights to commons
  9. Creating a system to record tenure rights and first registration
  10. Improving ways to record tenure rights
  11. Valuing land tenure rights

Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure

The overarching goals of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security are to achieve food security for all and support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security.

While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the Guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development.

The Guidelines are meant to benefit all people in all countries, although there is an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people. The Guidelines serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities. They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

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.

Historic decision on land tenure adopted by UNCCD COP 14 . During a high-level session at the close of the UNCCD COP 14 (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Conference of the Parties) in September, a declaration to focus on land-based solutions to combat climate change was adopted. In the declaration, the relevance of the VGGT was reaffirmed for better access, control and stewardship over land and equitable tenure security. It encourages parties to use the principles laid out in the VGGT in the implementation of activities to combat desertification/land degradation and drought.  In closing the session Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, emphasized that the key message to the upcoming UN climate summit in New York was clear, “investing in land, unlocks multiple opportunities.”

FAO was invited to produce a technical guide on integrating the VGGT into the implementation of the Convention and land degradation neutrality, taking into account national contexts for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its fifteenth session.