United Nations negotiators in Rome have agreed to a set of proposed voluntary global guidelines for the governance of land tenure rights and access to land, fisheries, and forest rights. "Once approved, the guidelines will be voluntary, but because they have been drawn up in such a comprehensive and inclusive process, and because there is this shared perception that a framework like this is sorely needed, we all anticipate that they will set the bar for policymakers," said Yaya Olaniran, chairman of the United Nations Committee for World Food Security. The voluntary guidelines came amid concerns about "landgrabs," where tracts of land in the developing world are leased to commercial developers, but the guidelines cover a wide range of topics, including equal rights for women in securing a title and how to recognize informal, traditional rights to land, forests, and fisheries. The proposals will be sent to the committee for final approval in May. Once approved, the guidelines will serve as a reference for national authorities setting policy on access and ownership rights for land, fisheries, and forest resources. For the full story, see