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Indigenous peoples and FAO start joint work with the Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure

28/05/2015 -

The first capacity building programme designed with and for indigenous peoples on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) will start its activities next week.

FAO’s programme will bring together 24 indigenous leaders and experts from Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama, who will work together for one year. The training will take place in Nicaragua’s North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, where the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples (CADPI, Centro para la

Autonomía y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas), will share the Autonomous Region’s experience related to territorial governance.

“We see this training as a process- says Myrna Cunningham, CADPI’s president- to accompany indigenous peoples in the practical use of the Voluntary Guidelines, understanding what parts can be used in relation to each of the challenges they face in their communities and providing them with the skills that are mostly needed”.

Indigenous peoples and governance of tenure

Indigenous Peoples rely on land, forests and other natural resources as a source of food and shelter, and as basis for social, cultural and spiritual practices. Their reliance on commons and open-access natural resources to produce their food and livelihoods has resulted in different governance systems.

Governance of tenure is a crucial element in determining if and how indigenous peoples can use and control these resources, as they face increasing pressure from different socio-economic and environmental factors, which increases their vulnerability and levels of conflict.

Objectives of the training programme

The main objective of FAO’s training programme is to increase indigenous peoples’ understanding of the VGGT and their potential use to secure and safeguard their tenure rights.

Specifically designed training material will be developed by CADPI, the partner organization, to target indigenous peoples, including the translation of the main documents to different indigenous languages.

The training will be practical and based on tenure success stories as well as on challenges faced by indigenous peoples in their communities. Legal and policy frameworks of indigenous peoples’ tenure rights, and practical methodologies and institutions that are to be used to claim such rights in each country will also be discussed.

At the end of the programme the 24 participants will replicate the training in their respective communities, in particular the ability to concretely use the VGGT to address their existing tenure issues.

“Responsible governance of tenure promotes sustainable social and economic development that can help eradicate poverty and food insecurity, and the VGGT set out principles and standards for responsible practices” said Rolf Hackbart, Co-Chair of the FAO VGGT Task Force.

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