Today the U.S. Agency for International Development welcomed the formal endorsement of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security. The protocol was endorsed by the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in Rome.
The Voluntary Guidelines provide a set of principles and practices that can assist countries in establishing laws and policies that better govern land, fisheries and forests tenure rights, ultimately supporting food security and sustainable development.
“The U.S. supports policies that create more transparent, accountable, accessible, predictable and stable access to land, which will enable private sector investment,” said Dr. Gregory Myers, USAID Senior Advisor for Land Tenure and Property Rights and Chair of the Guidelines negotiation process. “The Voluntary Guidelines give countries a much-needed mechanism to protect rights and promote good land governance in a way that will encourage sustainable and responsible investment.”
Around the world, women, in particular, face major obstacles in accessing and obtaining rights to land. In many instances, a woman’s right to land comes through marriage and can be lost if her spouse dies. Where implemented, the Voluntary Guidelines will bring clarity of tenure rights for all people and will especially impact the lives of women.
Secure tenure rights create better environments for investments in agriculture, reduce land-related conflicts, promote improved natural resource management and address challenges related to climate change. Nations that consult the Voluntary Guidelines when drafting their property rights laws and regulations may achieve many of these benefits.
The United States is actively supporting improvements in land governance that strengthen the land and resource rights of local people and communities. In the past five years, USAID has funded $200 million in land tenure programming in 30 countries around the world.
The Voluntary Guidelines are the result of an unprecedented negotiation process that featured broad consultation and participation by 96 national governments, more than 25 civil society organizations, the private sector, nonprofits, and farmers’ associations over the course of almost three years.