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Agreement Between FAO and the World Notariat Over Land Rights

Following the adoption on 11 May 2012 by the United Nations of the Voluntary Guidelines, whose purpose is to help governments protect the rights of ownership of and access to land, forests and fish resources for millions of often very poor people, a cooperation agreement was recently signed between the World Notariat (UINL) and the FAO. 

The agreement results from the inclusion in the Voluntary Guidelines of the figure of the notary as one of the legal players to appeal to for advice and contractual guarantees in securing rights of land ownership (Article 17.3) and the project the World Notariat already has under way that provides for the creation of land registers in those countries where the phenomenon of land grabbing is present. 

This new agreement includes a commitment by the UINL to disseminate information on the existence of the voluntary guidelines to its 86 members and 300,000 notaries. This awareness campaign will continue through the creation of a link to the FAO website from the UINL's site, which will also have a section dedicated to the voluntary guidelines. 

The UINL will also provide its network of legal land experts to ensure the promotion and application of the voluntary guidelines (mainly in Central and South America, West Africa and the Indian Ocean, South-East Asia and the Far East, and Central and Eastern Europe). 

The UINL's institutional network (whether by way of governments, the public service or amongst academics and professionals) will also be used for the dissemination of the voluntary guidelines and the implementation of its support activities for countries in the area of land ownership management; and the United Nations agencies will be provided with the legal tools developed by UINL working groups to improve access to land ownership within a sustainable framework (e.g. legal instruments for the delivery of property titles; standard contracts for companies wishing to invest responsibly in the agricultural sector).