The UN Committee on World Food Security endorsed on May 11th the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security that outline principles and practices that governments can refer to when making laws and administering land, fisheries and forests rights. Tenure Guidelines are a first step, but much more is needed to ensure peoples’ rights to land and natural resources


Civil Society Organizations’ joint reaction to the Guidelines on Land, Fisheries and Forests delivered on May 11th by the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS)


A first essential step has been made, but there’s still a long road ahead before peoples’ rights to land, fisheries and forests are fully recognized and respected. Civil Society Organizations actively involved in the negotiations on the guidelines believe that they represent significant progress made in the governance of natural resources and food security. The guidelines are the result of multi-year-discussions between governments and civil society representatives and reaffirm basic human rights principles such as human dignity, non-discrimination, equity and justice when applied to tenure. Nonetheless, they fall short on issues that are key to the livelihoods of small scale food producers, failing to sufficiently challenge practices such as land and water grabbing, which contribute to food insecurity, violation of human rights and degradation of environment.


The new instrument developed by the CFS rightly recognizes the key role of women, peasant farmers, fishing communities, pastoralists and indigenous peoples. The negotiation process itself, which included consultation and participation of social movements and other civil society organizations, can be considered an achievement in itself. Representatives of small-scale food producers were invited to have their say at all stages, bringing real life experience into the negotiations. The process proved able to bring a wide range of voices to the debate, making it easier to find solutions to difficult and contentious issues, such as tenure of land, fisheries and forests. This way of working should serve as an example to the entire UN system.


However, the guidelines fall short on a number of crucial issues, thus failing to provide a comprehensive set of rules to counter effectively widespread grabbing of natural resources. The text is too weak in prioritizing essential support to small-scale producers, who are the absolute priority if governments are to achieve sustainable development. It’s also disappointing that the guidelines fail to further protect the rights of indigenous peoples already recognized by international instruments and don’t include water as a land resource.


While Civil Society Organizations still disagree with several parts of the text, they will work to ensure that the guidelines are implemented in a way that strengthens the rights of small-scale food producers and commit to use them as a tool to advance their struggles. CSOs call on governments and intergovernmental organizations to implement the guidelines effectively and urgently to contribute to a sustainable and equitable governance of natural resources.




List of Civil Society Organizations:



INTERNATIONAL & REGIONAL


Action Aid


ANGOC


Arab Network for Food Sovereignty


Asian Rural Women’s Coalition


Brot Fuer die Welt


CIDSE


Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance (EAA)


FIAN International


FIMARC (International Federation of Adult Rural Catholic Movements)


Food Sovereignty Network South Asia (FSNSA)


Friends of the Earth International (FoEI)


GROOTS International


Huairou Commission: Women, Homes, and Community


International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)


Institute of Hunger Studies


International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)


International Food Security Network (IFSN)


La Via Campesina


MIJARC (International Movement of Catholic Agricultural and Rural Youth)


Oxfam


Peuples Solidaires en association avec ActionAid


REDSAN-PALOP (Regional Civil Society for Food Security in the Portuguese-African Countries)


Share The World’s Resources


USC Canada


WHY Hunger


WOCAN


World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous People (WAMIP)


World Forum of Fishharversters and Fishworkers (WFF)


World Rural Forum (WRF)


NATIONAL


ACTUAR – Association for Cooperation and Development, Portugal


Associazione Università per la cooperazione e lo sviluppo, Italy


CCFD-Terre Solidaire, France


Crocevia, Italy


Collectif pour la Défense des Terres Malgaches – TANY (Madagascar/France)


Federación Agraria Argentina y Mujeres Federadas Argentinas, Argentina


Focus on the Global South, India, Philippines, Thailand


Institute for Motivating Self-Employment (IMSE), India


Instituto Mayor Campesino (INCA), Colombia


La Unidad de la Fuerza Indígena y Campesina (UFIC), México


MARAG, India


Mazingira Institute, Kenya


Movimento de la Juventud Kuna (MJK), Panama


Portuguese National Farmers Confederation, Portugal


ReAlimentar – Portuguese Civil Society Network for Food Security, Portugal


Spire, Norway


SWISSAID, Switzerland


Terra Nuova, Italy


The Arab Group for the Protection of Nature, Jordan


Transnational Institute, Netherlands


UK Food Group, UK


Spokespeople available:


Angel Strappazzon, Farmers – Argentina – Language: Spanish


Rehema Bavuma, Fisherfolk – Uganda – Language: English


Ujjaini Halim, Fisherfolk – India – Language: English


Lalji Desai, Pastoralists – India – Language: English


Sofia Monsalve, FIAN – Colombia– Langagues: Spanish, English


Other CSO representatives from Actionaid, FIAN and Oxfam [+others] will be available in Rome for interviews in different languages including French and German.


Media Contact in Rome:


Ashley von Anrep, +39 3397904006 – Ashley.vonanrep@csm4cfs.org


This article is also available in: French