Highlights from the Committee on World Food Security

A guest post by Dr. Paul Munro-Faure, Deputy Director, Climate, Energy and Tenure Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Last month, the 40th Session of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) was held at the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome. Land governance and responsible tenure were a strong thread of interest and discussion throughout the week-long meeting.

CFS Week provided important opportunities to review the achievements of various stakeholders in implementing the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (commonly referred to as the Voluntary Guidelines), which were endorsed by the CFS in May 2012. During the plenary session on October 9, the FAO Secretariat, members of civil society and the private sector, and representatives from the government of Brazil presented updates on their progress in supporting implementation of various aspects of the Voluntary Guidelines.

On October 7, FAO hosted a side event on progress in supporting implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. There, FAO presented details on its programme of support for the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines. Carlos Mário Guedes De Guedes, President of the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) discussed Brazil’s enthusiastic take-up of the Voluntary Guidelines and their mainstreaming in the context of the International Year of Family Farming. Ángel Strapazzón, Movimiento Nacional Campesino Indígena, speaking on behalf of the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty (IPC) working group on land, provided an update on the activities undertaken by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in support of the Voluntary Guidelines. Strapazzón noted how, with the support of FAO and the European Union, CSOs are developing capacity building material on the Guidelines, specifically dedicated to CSOs, social movements, and farmers’ organizations. Jorge Muñoz, Land Tenure Advisor at the World Bank, reported on the World Bank’s assessment of the Voluntary Guidelines’ importance and how the World Bank is mainstreaming the Voluntary Guidelines in its work.

On October 9, the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID) hosted a side event on land tenure and property rights in a post-2015 agenda. The presentations and discussions centered on indicators for secure land tenure in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) framework. Representatives from DfID, USAID, Landesa and the Global Land Tools Network (GLTN) and around 70 participants discussed the need for a robust and measurable target for land tenure security and property rights and how best to galvanize support towards incorporating a land tenure and property rights goal into the post-2015 MDG agenda.

The final day of CFS Week, October 11, saw an important, but separate meeting: the first formal meeting of the Global Donor Working Group on Land, which is currently chaired by DfID. Formed in the wake of the Voluntary Guidelines negotiations, the Working Group is tasked with improving coordination of donor-funded tenure-related initiatives and activities. The group is working to create an inventory of all donor-funded land governance programs and to enhance donor communication and coordination. As the Working Group gets underway, these efforts will make a real difference in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of land governance programs and maximizing the impact of available resources.


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