Interpreting and using the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security in Guatemala: Challenges for democratizing land, fisheries and forests tenure

Salena Tramel, JL Caal Hub

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

Abstract

This paper explores the challenges for democratizing land, fisheries and forests tenure in Guatemala through the use of the FAO/CFS Tenure Guidelines across a variety of stakeholders, including, the national government, international intergovernmental organizations, NGOs and grassroots rural working people organizations, FAO, IFAD, and UNEP, and academic researchers. This international human rights instrument comes at a critical moment, where the current global land rush has shaped contemporary agrarian transformation with serious implications on the right to food and natural resource control. We argue that Tenure Guideline provide us with a unique opportunity to discuss how land and natural resource tenure falls under the prescriptions of international human rights law, while tendencies often subsume tenure by a narrow and unquestionable understanding of property rights enshrined by civil and merchant law. In Guatemala, we are witnessing a political opening, where the Government has incorporated the language of the Tenure Guidelines into its regulatory framework unlike any other country in Latin America. At the same time, the interpretation of the Tenure Guidelines is extremely contested, with some state and corporate actors seeking to write the guidelines into policy in order to gain political legitimacy for the expansion of oil palm and sugarcane production. Our findings indicate that when applied together with a rights-based approach, the Tenure Guidelines are highly relevant and politically urgent. This is especially true of the most marginalized populations who require protection and respect of their existing tenure rights, promotion of reforms for better access to and control over land and resources, and restoration of tenure rights resulting from displacement or dispossession.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2016
EventAn international colloquium - The Hague, Netherlands
Duration: 4 Feb 20165 Feb 2016

Conference

ConferenceAn international colloquium
CityThe Hague, Netherlands
Period4/02/165/02/16

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