Bloomberg News

Governments Agree Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure, FAO Says

March 13, 2012

Governments from 96 countries and international organizations agreed on voluntary guidelines for land tenure and access rights to land, fisheries and forests, the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization said.

The proposed guidelines will now be considered for final approval by the Committee on World Food Security, or CFS, at a meeting tentatively scheduled for May 18, the Rome-based FAO wrote in a statement on its website today.

The text follows three years of talks between governments, farmers associations, non-profit groups and international organizations, and cover topics including equal rights for women in securing land title, record-keeping systems and protection of informal, traditional rights to land, according to the FAO.

“The guidelines will be voluntary, but because they have been drawn up in such a comprehensive and inclusive process, and because there is this shared perception that a framework like this is sorely needed, we all anticipate that they will set the bar for policy makers,” Yaya Olaniran, CFS chairman, was cited as saying in the statement.

Once officially approved, the guidelines will serve as a reference for governments for laws and policy related to access and ownership rights for land, fishing resources and forests, the FAO said.

“We’re already seeing governments moving to bring their policies and practices into alignment with the guidelines,” Olaniran was cited as saying.

Countries that funded the preparation of the voluntary guidelines were Germany, Switzerland and Finland, the FAO said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at

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