Legal empowerment to promote legitimate tenure rights
Over the past 30 years, an increasing number of states have passed good laws that significantly strengthen the tenure rights of their citizens. However, due to multiple barriers, a high percentage of many nations’ citizens are either unaware of their legal rights or unable to use national laws to protect their rights when threatened.
Legal empowerment efforts focus on strengthening citizens’ capacity to exercise their rights in a wide variety of forums, including in government administrative procedures, courts and tribunals, and when advocating for laws and policies. Legal empowerment is a key component of ensuring that the governance of land, fisheries and forests is responsible, equitable and just. Legal empowerment initiatives may include legal education; capacity development; efforts to shape state justice systems; legal support for citizens; and promotion of citizen participation in law-making.
This legal brief outlines how state and civil society-led legal empowerment initiatives may contribute to the realization of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) and support greater tenure security, good governance, improved use of formal legal systems, and increased political participation by all citizens.