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Zo Indigenous Forum participates in FAO workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

Zo Indigenous Forum participates in a regional workshop on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) took place in Guwahati last 10 – 12 November 2015, which was organized by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO0, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and hosted by the Karbi Human Rights Watch. Together with around 20 participants representing Indigenous Peoples organisation in North East India. The workshop’s main objective was to raise awareness on the Voluntary Guidelines –hereafter referred to as VGGT.

The workshop allowed participants to truly analyze, understand, and ask questions about the guidelines – including how they were developed; their use and importance and the need of these guidelines; what initiatives can help push for implementation of the VGs; and how various sectors can improve governance and tenure land rights.

The role of Indigenous Peoples and their customary land management system was also recognized by FAO. The guidelines are only voluntary, it is incumbent crucially important for the CSOs and Indigenous Peoples organisation to push and lobby for its implementation from the grassroots to the central level. Participants highlighted the challenges on the ground including the implementation of the mechanism available at the international, national and state level, the issues of transparency and non-recognition of customary laws and practices and the issues of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

Participants highlighted the challenges faced at the community including non-recognition of customary laws and practices, infrastructure development that is taking placed in the Indigenous areas like highway, dams, border fencing, oil and natural gas exploration, oil palm plantation, defense purpose and protected areas or reserve and makes suggestion that can monitor the compliance of VGGT and other international mechanism like UNDRIP and national legislation like Forest Rights Act 2006.

The Voluntary Guidelines were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security last May 2012. While the VVGT are voluntary in nature, they have been negotiated by governments, INGOs and CSOs and IPs. The VGGT can be used as an advocacy agenda and multi-stakeholder platform to discuss land and governance issues.

For more information on the Voluntary Guidelines, please click HERE
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