About this guide

Purpose of this Guide

In 2012, the 193 governments represented in the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) endorsed a document called the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forestry in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT). This document was the result of extensive consultation with government, private sector, and civil society representatives.

The VGGT represent the first inter-governmental consensus on the principles and accepted standards for the responsible governance of tenure for governments, international organizations, communities, and the private sector. While they provide a high-level framework within which companies can demonstrate support for better land and forest tenure governance, they might be difficult to interpret for those not expert in such concepts.

This Guide has been developed to provide senior-level and operational teams at leading companies an entry point to understanding and implementing the VGGT. The intent is to provide a more manageable presentation of the VGGT, along with steps to ensure that a company acts consistently with them.

The guidance presented herein is not a step-by-step checklist of issues to consider or actions to take. Rather, it clarifies a company’s basic role and key responsibilities under the VGGT, citing relevant text from the VGGT, 3 and also providing information on where to look for more detailed tools. The VGGT are an indivisible package. In other words, companies cannot pick certain articles with which to comply and ignore others. Every project will encounter site-specific land and forest tenure challenges that will require managers to use their judgment and integrate a variety of competencies into project operations. It is a company’s responsibility to understand the requirements of the VGGT and integrate them into its operations.

  1. The full text of the VGGT articles highlighted in this Guide is provided in Annex 6.