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puce Endorsement of the « Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure ... »
By the CFS, 11 may 2012

After a long process of consultation and negotiation that started in 2009 and involved government institutions, the civil society, the private sector, the academic world of about 130 countries and the UN agencies, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) ratified the « Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. ».

The presentation of FAO’s website that we reproduce below underlines in a very clear way the limits of the text that it has been approved.

« Promoting secure tenure rights and equitable access to natural resources. The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment.

Setting out principles and internationally accepted standards. These Guidelines set out principles and internationally accepted standards for responsible practices. They are a framework that actors can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation and programmes. They allow government authorities, the private sector, civil society and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

Legal status of the Guidelines. These Voluntary Guidelines are not legally binding. They do not replace existing national or international laws, commitments, treaties or agreements. They do not limit or undermine any legal obligations which States may have under international law. As a soft law instruments they have positive impact in guiding national policies, legislation and programmes. »

The following links give access to the final text of the Guidelines, in French, in English and in Spanish.

Les directives volontaires Voluntary Guidelines Directrices voluntarias

You can find in the FAO website the Chinese, Arabic and Russian versions of the Voluntary Guidelines and some complementary informations on the process of their elaboration.

The Civil Society Organizations hope it will be possible to rely on the content of the Guidelines to strengthen their actions pro the improvement of the governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, taking the States to change their public policies and their legal frameworks.

We share this hope in AGTER, but we are clear that we have still a long way to go. Defining a theoretical common objective at this level is, in itself, a very positive step. Creating the conditions so that this objective can be achieved is a much more ambitious and difficult task.

We will soon dedicate other articles to the analysis of the content of the approved voluntary guidelines.

We invite the members of AGTER, the members of the network and the users of this website to read attentively the Guidelines and to send us their observations and proposals, in order to contribute to built the new governance mechanisms of land and natural resources that the world needs.


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