In October, just ahead of the 37th Session of the Committee on World Food Security, there was an intense week of negotiations on the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Lands, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGs).
At this time, 74% of the text of the VGs was adopted, including critical issues that civil society fought hard for, such as a strong gender-sensitive approach, the recognition and protection of customary tenure, the tenure of forests and fisheries, and the protection of defenders of the rights of peasants, farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, pastoralists and nomadic peoples, as well as a the commitment not to criminalize the social struggles undertaken to defend their natural resources.
Starting next week (March 5) there will be (we hope) a last round of negotiations. There is hope that states will not revisit text that has already been agreed to, but there is no guarantee.
Key issues remain unresolved in the text, including the section on investment (which relates to land grabbing).
It is important for the legitimacy of the reformed CFS that these guidelines be approved. Moreover, at the 36th CFS, it was agreed that the process of discussing principles for responsible investment on agriculture would not begin until the VGs had been approved.
I will be at the negotiations next week and will do my best to keep those interested up to date.
To see what the civil society positions are, check out the Civil Society Mechanism Working Group on the VGs: http://cso4cfs.org/csm-working-groups-2/voluntary-guidelines/