March 9, 2012 the VG are finalised

The intergovernmental negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of National Food Security have been finalized on Friday 9 March 2012.

As a next step the Voluntary Guidelines will be considered for final approval by the World Food Security at a special session in Rome on 11th of May.

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Water, natural resource, is not mentioned in the body text. It appears in the introduction where it is noted that States are free to take the governance of water or other natural resources into account in their implementation of these guidelines.


Upon the endorsement, the CFS will focus on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. The committee of CFS should be the Global Forum that assess progress toward the implementation of these Guidelines and their relevance, effectiveness and impact.

October 2011, FAO Voluntary Guideline in preparation

Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests

in the Context of National Food Security:


The October negotiation round did not succeed in concluding the negotiations, so the Guidelines were not adopted during the CFS 37th Session as planned. However, 74% of the text has been agreed in plenary and the CFS has mandated the Bureau to call for a final negotiation session as soon as possible, most likely within the first 3 months of 2012.

Hopefully the Guidelines can be officially adopted as soon as the negotiation itself is ended. CSO attribute the failure to conclude the negotiations not to political opposition by any Member governments, but simply to the fact that very complicated and sensitive issues, in a long document, are under negotiation. Many governments recognize that they will be obliged to apply the VGs “back home”, and this is positive.


In terms of content, the October negotiation was globally a success from a CSO perspective.The text agreed generally meets our baseline benchmarks regarding recognition of hunger/poverty eradication as paramount objectives of the VGs; strong reference to international human rights commitments and States’ obligations; restitution and redistributive reforms; distinction of roles and responsibilities of States and non-State actors; spatial planning from a sustainable development perspective; tackling gender inequality; better inclusion of concerns of pastoralists.  More negotiation remains to be conducted in plenary on safeguards for local communities and the section on investments in general (the most contentious one); implementation, monitoring and evaluation; policy coherence, recognition and protection of natural commons; inclusion of water and other natural resources. CSO efforts have clearly contributed to this positive outcome (still temporary, since “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”), but it is also the consequence of very progressive positions of some CFS Member governments, in particular the EU and Brazil. Generally, it appears that the EU will maintain the positions it adopted in October. The issue of financial support for the final negotiation round, including for CS participation, also needs to be raised.

(Source: )

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