10º anniversary of Tenure Guidelines; We Belong to the Land | Statement of the IPC Working Group on Land, Forest, Water and Territory

June 7, 2022

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (Tenure Guidelines), more than 100 organizations of small-scale food producers, Indigenous Peoples, workers, urban communities and civil society from around the world, underline the critical importance of land, fisheries and forests for achieving social, environmental, gender and intergenerational justice, and demand that States, the FAO and the entire UN system comply with their obligations to realize the right to land. Many of the signatories of the international statement “We Belong to the Land” engaged in the negotiation process of the Tenure Guidelines as part of their struggles for food sovereignty and agrarian reform, and against land and resource grabbing. Since their adoption, we have used them to strengthen our own capacities, to hold state and corporate actors to account for human rights violations, to monitor and analyze policies, and to develop our own proposals for normative frameworks, which respect, protect and promote the rights of people and communities. In several countries, social organizations have succeeded to influence public policies and open up spaces of dialogue and negotiation with governments, local authorities and regional bodies. In some cases, this has led to new laws and policies that are in line with the content and spirit of the Tenure Guidelines. We recognize that some governments and international institutions, including the FAO, have put in place programs and funding to promote and implement the Tenure Guidelines. However, most of the times, such programs have focused on technical approaches and measures, without addressing the structural causes of dispossession, land concentration and ecosystem destruction. We regret that some governments have only paid lip service to the Guidelines while de facto ignoring them. Many governments of the Global North have further refused to apply them in their own countries, thus contradicting the Tenure Guidelines’ global scope.

The statement emphasizes the following:

  • Human rights-based governance of land, fisheries, forests and their associated natural resources is impossible without addressing the structural drivers of exclusion, dispossession and inequality.


  •  As organizations of food producers, Indigenous Peoples, workers, urban communities and civil society we underline that guaranteeing the right to land is fundamental to the transformation toward sustainable, healthy and just social and economic models.


  •  The transition to just and sustainable social and economic models require the control of people and communities over their lands, fisheries, forests and territories.

The statement also contains a clear commitment by all signatory organizations to use the Tenure Guidelines and other human rights instruments for the struggle for food sovereignty, as well as clear demands to states, the FAO and the entire system of the United Nations.

  Read the complete statement here!