Valuing land tenure rights. A technical guide on valuing land tenure rights in line with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security | Land Portal

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December 2017
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Valuations of tenure rights are required by the State and by the private sector for a wide variety of reasons, often forming and informing the basis of transactions, taxation, compensation and accounting. Value and the valuation process form a part of our everyday lives, and yet these are often shrouded in mystery and are not clearly understood.
Valuation is not merely hypothetical – a significant proportion of complaints and legal challenges in many countries are grounded on valuation, be it claims of inadequate levels of compensation for land taken by the State, or resistance to high land and property taxes, all of which have legal and financial consequences.

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (hereafter the Guidelines) endorsed in 2012, are the first international consensus on the centrality of tenure rights. They enforce the recognition and protection of tenure rights and the importance of tenure security to national food security. The Guidelines recognize the complexities of effective land administration associated with the delivery of tenure-related services and specifically reference the importance of valuation.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed a series of Technical Guides to elaborate and provide more detailed guidance on thematic areas contained within the Guidelines. As part of this series, this Technical Guide covers the issues associated with the identification and valuation of tenure rights for different purposes, and provides guidance on how to ensure that valuations are undertaken in a fair, reliable and transparent manner that comply with international norms. It explains why valuations are important, where and when they should be used, and by whom. It is not intended to be a valuation textbook; instead it seeks to raise the level of awareness of valuation issues and procedures among those involved in land policy and administration and those affected by land tenure decisions.

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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The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa (UNCCD) is a Convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs that incorporate long-term strategies supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements.


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