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Tenure rights and obligations

Towards a more holistic approach to land governance












Cotula, L. 2021. Tenure rights and obligations – Towards a more holistic approach to land governance. FAO Legal Papers No. 106. Rome, FAO.




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    In taking a comprehensive approach to issues of tenure, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) offer an opportunity to promote systemic governance reform and respect for land and resource rights, while clarifying the different roles of States, businesses and social actors. The VGGT do not directly cover mineral resources but they clarify that States may wish to consider the governance of mineral resources in their efforts to implement the VGGT. They also provide guidance on tenure rights to land, fisheries and forests, which are often affected by mining operations. Yet, the VGGT’s relevance to the mining sector has often been overlooked. This legal brief explores how implementing the VGGT could help address recurring challenges affecting the mining sector.
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    Protecting legitimate tenure rights: From concepts to practice 2021
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    Misalignments between national laws and local tenure systems can undermine the resource claims of marginalized groups and lead to conflict. To proactively address rights violations that stem from such misalignment, the United Nations Committee on World Food Security endorsed the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), establishing the most comprehensive global soft-law instrument concerning tenure rights. The VGGT call on States to recognize, respect and protect all “legitimate” tenure rights, including those not currently protected by national laws. They also affirm the responsibility of businesses to respect all legitimate tenure rights, linking tenure issues to businesses’ wider human rights responsibilities. However, the concept of legitimate tenure rights has often proved difficult to operationalize. This legal brief discusses the meaning and implications of recognizing legitimate tenure rights, then outlines possible ways forward for States, civil society, the private sector and development agencies.
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    Book (series)
    Responsible Governance of Land Tenure: an essential factor for the realization of the Right to Food
    Land Tenure Working Paper
    2010
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    Land Tenure Working Paper 15. This publication brings to light the existing linkages between land tenure and the realization of the right to food. It points out that responsible governance of land requires the adoption of human rights-based approach in order to develop coherent and long term solutions to improve people’s livelihoods. The document presents the legal implications of the right to food at national level and provides a series of examples on the implementation of human rights principl es and obligations into land tenure systems, policies, and institutional frameworks. Presented as a background document for the Latin America Regional Consultation Meeting for the elaboration of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land and Natural Resources, it aims to encourage discussion and further analysis on the issues presented.

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