The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) welcome the results of the second round of negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Lands, Fisheries and Forests and call on governments to conclude negotiations as soon as possible.
After a week of intense negotiations, CSOs see a positive outcome of these negotiations on substance: critical issues for organizations and social movements were adopted, for example, a strong gender-sensitive approach, the recognition and protection of customary tenure of land, fisheries and forests and the protection of the defenders of the rights of peasants, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, nomadic and landless peoples, as well as the commitment to not criminalize the social struggles undertaken to defend their natural resources.
Despite the marathon negotiations, during which 74% of the text was adopted, and the constructive spirit shown by all parties, it was not possible to complete negotiations in time for the adoption of the guidelines at the 37 CFS session, mainly due to the complexity of the issues.
Several controversial issues, such as those relating to investments in agriculture, remain open and have faced strong resistance on the part of several governments. At its 37th meeting, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) will decide on the date on which negotiations will be taken up again. The CSOs urge the CFS and governments to conclude negotiations as soon as possible in order to provide a comprehensive international agreement that prevents land grabs.
They also support to not re-opening the agreed text, as it reflects the presence of social movements and CSOs during these negotiations, which recalled that governments have an obligation to defend their interests and comply with their national and international obligations regarding human rights.
Last week, the CSOs submitted to the Chair of the CFS the Dakar Appeal against land grabbing, signed by 870 organizations around the world. Social movements and CSOs call for the text of this appeal to be taken into account in the negotiations and for a declaration to be made, calling for a worldwide ban on land grabbing and for local food production systems controlled by small scale producers themselves.
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