Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

Tool Details

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The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment. They were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012. Since then implementation has been encouraged by G20, Rio+ 20, United Nations General Assembly and Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.


The Guidelines promote responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, with respect to all forms of tenure: public, private, communal, indigenous, customary, and informal.

Food security for all, plus

Their overarching goals are to achieve food security for all and support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security. While supporting efforts towards the eradication of hunger and poverty, the Guidelines are also intended to contribute to achieving sustainable livelihoods, social stability, housing security, rural development, environmental protection, and sustainable social and economic development. The Guidelines are meant to benefi t all people in all countries, although there is an emphasis on vulnerable and marginalized people.

Accepted standards

The Guidelines serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities. They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.


Where it has been used

Land and resource tenure are critical issues in a wide variety of contexts, and while these guidelines are voluntary, civil society and governments are using them to evaluate projects and policies around the world. 


How the tool is used for implementing a landscape approach

Responsible governance of tenure is a critical component of multi-stakeholder collaborative landscape management. Without tenure security and appropriate resource rights, stakeholders in a landscape are systematically marginalized from management decisions, and have less incentive to invest in landscape management platforms or interventions.

Tool Specifications

Tool Submitted By:

Douglas McGuire, Coordinator of the Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

User Type

Local Authority, Subnational / National Government

Type of Tool