Roman Herre - Policy Adviser, Land & Agriculture at FIAN Deutschland e.V


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On the 11th May 2012, the Committee on World Food Security of the United Nations adopted the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT). Rural 21 asked Roman Herre of the human rights organisation FIAN about his views on the implementation of the Guidelines so far.

Rural 21: Mr Herre, looking back on four years of Voluntary Guidelines, what have they achieved up to now?
Roman Herre: What may sound a little simple, but often falls by the wayside in discussions, is that with the land guidelines, a legitimate, international frame of reference has at last been created that applies to all states and all contexts. For example, the World Bank standards, adopted in undemocratic committees and largely ignoring internationally binding rights, namely human rights, share neither the outreach nor the legitimacy of these guidelines. So now we have a document that everyone can refer to when land issues are debated. FIAN, for instance, is using it to document the violation of human rights in Cambodia or in condemning the G7 countries’ land policy concerning African countries.

Furthermore, the land guidelines have demonstrated what an inclusive policy process needs to look like. The development and negotiating process in the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has become a new standard on how human rights principles of participation and inclusion are currently being implemented in concrete terms in political processes. Reference to this process has been made in many political debates and has had an influence. In numerous countries and local contexts, application and implementation has been concretely initiated. For example, civil society in Myanmar has made use of the guidelines as a detailed frame of reference for its demands and recommendations in the national consultations on land legislation. This has both given its demands a high degree of legitimacy and attracted the attention of the government. Here in Germany, a process has got underway that is to assess the implementation of the land guidelines. This comprehensive discussion of land policy is new and merits attention.

Are you satisfied with the results so far?

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