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  • New FAO guidelines to halt land grab

    March 16, 2012
    by Alessandro Pasotti

    Land grabbing (Copyright www.flickr.com/photos/youngrobv/2315739255/)

    Recently the Committee on Word Food Security (CFS) completed the intergovernmental negotiations of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Tenure of Land Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security.

    With the successful completion of these negotiations after a participatory process lasting nearly 3 years, the CFS has clearly shown that it has the capacity to bring a wide variety of social actors to the debate and to seek solutions to one of the most difficult and delicate issues we face today, that of access to natural resources for food production/provision.

    Voluntary Guidelines set out principles and internationally accepted standards for responsible practices. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation and programmes.

    They allow government authorities, the private sector, civil society and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

    The guidelines cover a wide range of issues, including promoting equal rights for women in securing title to land, creating transparent record-keeping systems that are accessible to the rural poor, and how to recognise and protect informal, traditional rights to land, forests and fisheries.

    In many parts of the world, land-grabbing causes great suffering by displacing people and communities and destroying and confiscating their lands, further increasing the incidence of violent conflicts.

    In spite of the massive and systematic violations of human rights, violations that take many forms in rural regions of the world, governments remain reluctant to re-affirm the commitments they have already made to different international Human Rights instruments relating to natural resources.

    It is called once more on the whole international community, the states and governments of the world, to finally commit themselves to establishing a new era in history, based on food sovereignty.

    These Guidelines, when understood as rights to land, fisheries and forests, are another tool in the ongoing struggle to eradicate hunger from the world.

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