Brief Introduction To The Voluntary Guidelines

The adoption of the Voluntary Guidelines is indeed an unprecedented achievement, as the politically contentious issue of land tenure has never been addressed so thoroughly at the international level. The grounding of land tenure and natural resources management issues in the human rights based approach has not been done in international law before which has kept the issues of “classical” human rights and environmental law largely separate. Food security and realisation of the right to food depend on secure access to land, fisheries and forests by people and communities. Good governance and administration of natural resources is a pre-condition for achieving economic growth and sustainable use of the environment. Small-scale farmers, women and indigenous communities need governments to provide legal recognition of their traditional land use rights, also referred to as “legitimate customary tenure rights.” Vulnerable populations need safeguards against loss of livelihoods as a matter of respect and protection of their human rights and in order to be able to invest in sustainable use of their natural resources. The Guidelines make it clear that achievement of food security and progressive realisation of the right to food are the most important goals of good land tenure governance.


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