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Agreement On Voluntary Land Guidelines Shows Collaboration On Food Security Is Possible

“The endorsement of voluntary guidelines [.pdf] to improve the way countries govern access rights to land, fisheries and forest resources by the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) on Friday marks a historic milestone not only for the way in which land tenure is managed, but also for international consensus-building,” Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), writes in this post in the Guardian’s “Poverty Matters” blog. As the “eradication of hunger depends in large measure on how people, communities and others have access to, and manage, land, fisheries and forests,” and “weak governance of tenure hinders economic growth and the sustainable use of the environment,” the “voluntary guidelines on the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests in the context of national food security set foundations that are indispensable to resolve these issues,” he argues.

“The guidelines cover a wide range of issues, including promoting equal rights for women in securing access to land, creating transparent record-keeping systems that are accessible to the rural poor, and helping with recognizing and protecting informal and customary rights to land, forests and fisheries,” da Silva notes, adding, “They provide a framework that governments can use when developing their own policies and give investors and developers clear indications of what constitutes acceptable practice.” He discusses the process of formulating the guidelines and writes, “The challenge now is for countries to adapt these guidelines to national conditions and needs before implementing them.” He concludes, “The same dialogue and collaborative process that underpinned the guidelines should inform discussions about agricultural investments and other challenges related to food security and rural development” (5/11).