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UN adopts guidelines on "land grabbing"

Rome, May 2012

In a landmark decision the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has endorsed a set of far-reaching global guidelines aimed at helping governments safeguard the rights of people to own or access land, forests and fisheries.

The new Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security outlines principles and practices that governments can refer to when making laws and administering land, fisheries and forests rights.

The document calls on governments to allow full transparency on land deals, consult local populations and defend women's rights to land ownership.

Chief amongst the 40-page guidelines is a call on governments to "safeguard legitimate tenure rights against threats and infringements" and "provide effective and accessible means" to resolve tenure disputes.

"Non-state actors including business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights and legitimate tenure rights," it said.

It also called on governments to "provide appropriate recognition and protection of the legitimate tenure rights of indigenous peoples".

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