The VGGT promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment, with a special emphasis on marginalised and vulnerable groups. They are intended to provide states with guiding standards and principles for shaping their strategies, policies, legislation and administration in terms of the tenure of land, fisheries and forests. But they also address other actors such as the private sector and civil society by laying down guidelines on issues such as the conducting of investments or the controlling of government actions. The VGGT include

  • minimum standards for the recognition and protection of all forms of legitimate tenure rights ranging from traditional customary and communal rights to formal individual rights;
  • provisions for expropriations, compensation processes and redistributive reforms of land ownership;
  • standards for the effective participation and consultation of people concerned in decision-making processes, for instance in land use planning or with regard to investments.

In addition, the VGGT formulate minimum standards for investments which require transactions in tenure rights.