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Library Improving governance of forest tenure: A practical guide

Improving governance of forest tenure: A practical guide

Improving governance of forest tenure: A practical guide

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Date of publication
December 2013
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Decisions about resource tenure – or who can use what resources of the land for how long, and under what conditions – are among the most critical for forests and livelihoods in many contexts. As tenure systems increasingly face stress, with growing populations requiring food security and with environmental degradation and climate change reducing the availability of land and forests, the governance of tenure becomes ever more crucial in determining whether and how people are able to acquire rights to use and control these lands and forests, along with the associated responsibilities.

Recognizing increasing demands for help in addressing this challenge, in particular from local-level stakeholders, FAO initiated a multistakeholder process that culminated in May 2012 with the Committee on World Food Security endorsing the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (‘the Guidelines’). Based on principles of sustainable development and the fundamental role of land in people’s livelihoods and environmental resilience, the Guidelines are intended to contribute to global and national efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty by promoting secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests.Inspired by the Guidelines, and recognizing forest tenure as a key part of the challenge, this Practical Guide on improving governance of forest tenure is for you if you want to rise to that challenge.
It is for those who want to try to improve the governance of forest tenure, and it helps you to take action in four critical areas – understanding, organizing, engaging and ensuring – to improve decision-making about forest goods and services.

Historic decision on land tenure adopted by UNCCD COP 14 ​​​​​​​. During a high-level session at the close of the UNCCD COP 14 (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Conference of the Parties) in September, a declaration to focus on land-based solutions to combat climate change was adopted. In the declaration, the relevance of the VGGT was reaffirmed for better access, control and stewardship over land and equitable tenure security. It encourages parties to use the principles laid out in the VGGT in the implementation of activities to combat desertification/land degradation and drought.  In closing the session Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, emphasized that the key message to the upcoming UN climate summit in New York was clear, “investing in land, unlocks multiple opportunities.”

FAO was invited to produce a technical guide on integrating the VGGT into the implementation of the Convention and land degradation neutrality, taking into account national contexts for consideration by the Conference of the Parties at its fifteenth session.

Land Tenure. Draft decision. COP 14  
The New Delhi Declaration: Investing in Land and Unlocking Opportunities
UNCCD website

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