Increasing understanding of the role that secure water resources tenure plays in ensuring sustainable livelihoods, just resource governance, environmental protection, and sustainable economic development has led FAO to re-kindle the debate that had begun in 2012, when the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) were adopted by FAO, and that had culminated in 2016 with the publication of the FAO seminal study "Exploring the concept of water tenure". Picking up from where that FAO publication had left off, an Expert Roundtable on Water Tenure was convened by FAO in Rome, in December 2019, to begin the process of developing a common conceptualization of water tenure and its scope within the broader context of water resources and tenure governance. Strengthening the position of individuals and communities within the political economy of water resources governance, particularly for the rural poor whose livelihoods and food security depend on secure and equitable access to - water and land - was central to the debates.
This report includes the Policy Brief and the Expert Roundtable Summary that explored the bundle of water-related rights approach to un-packing the concept and the practical ramifications of water tenure. It is based on recent research and analysis that have helped to identify the core elements of water tenure based on data demonstrating how water tenure systems are legally recognized at the national level and how they function across diverse countries.
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The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and debate policy. FAO is also a source of knowledge and information.