New Guide and Animation Film offers strategic guidance and inspiration on how to secure tenure rights to commons based on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and ForestsDid you know that millions of people around the world depend on commons for their fundamental well-being? Commons are natural resources such as land, fisheries and forests that people use collectively for things such as livestock grazing, fodder, firewood, fish and non-timber forest products. They are a source of food and income and an important safety net in times of hardship, especially for marginalized and vulnerable people. Commons are also essential to people’s culture and identity.
The problem is that legitimate tenure rights to commons are often not recognized and protected by national law. In cases where legal recognition of these rights exists on paper, they are often not enforced and implemented in practice.
A historic opportunity to secure tenure rights to commons was achieved when governments, civil society, the private sector and academia agreed at the UN Committee on World Food Security in 2012 on an international, human rights-based standard for the responsible governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests – the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (short: Tenure Guidelines/VGGT).
To support the proactive implementation of the standards and principles of these Tenure Guidelines, FAO has published a number of guides on key topics. The most recently published Guide “Governing Tenure Rights to Commons” provides detailed, strategic guidance and suggested practices for states, communities, civil society organizations and the private sector to recognize and secure legitimate tenure rights to commons. The Guide offers 12 strategies in three areas of action:
- the legal recognition and protection of tenure rights to commons;
- their effective implementation by states and rights holders alike;
- and the support of communities to enjoy their rights.
With these interrelated strategies, seven illustrative cases of practice from around the world, and methodological steps for national and local adaptation, the Guide aims to inspire and support actors to make a difference and contribute to transformative change by making responsible governance of tenure rights to commons a reality.
The Guide was developed through a purposeful and inclusive multi-actor process led by the land governance team of the IASS Global Soil Forum. An extensive process including a Sounding Board and six international workshops was done to ensure that the Guide is based on the strategies and lessons that numerous individuals, civil society organizations, state officials, scientists and international organizations have gained in their efforts to secure tenure rights to commons.
Watch here the accompanying Animation Film “Caring for Commons – Securing legitimate rights” which explains the key strategies offered by the Guide: