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UN endorses ‘historic breakthrough’ on land access rights

June 2012

The UN’s food security working group has endorsed landmark global guidelines to safeguard access-to-land rights for people in developing countries.

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries & Forests in the Context of National Food Security outline principles and practices to help governments legislate and administer land, fisheries and forests. They could now produce new remedies for world hunger.

The guidelines are based on a consultation started by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in 2009. They have just been ratified by the Committee for Food Security after intergovernmental negotiations with officials, civil society bodies, private sector representatives and charities.
The aim is “to promote food security and sustainable development by improving secure access to land, fisheries and forests and protecting the rights of millions of often very poor people”.

The guidelines focus particularly on the so-called ‘land-grabbing’ of large areas, but also deal with best practices for registering and transferring tenure rights, tenure administrative systems, indigenous communities’ rights, investment transparency and dealing with urban expansion into rural areas.

FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva said: “Giving poor people secure and equitable rights to access land and other natural resources is a key condition in the fight against hunger and poverty. It is a historic breakthrough [and] will help improve the often dire situation of the hungry and poor.”

United Nations | Global | Land Rights

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