Regional Assembly 2014 - India
Members of the International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia met at Gopnaad, Gujarat, India from 6-10 October 2014 for the 2014 Regional Assembly and Land Forum with the theme, “People-centered policies on land and resources in post-2015 agendas across Asia”. The event was co-organized by Maldhari Rural Action Group (MARAG) and ILC Asia, attended by more than 40 participants from ILC member countries: Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines; ILC Secretariat representatives from Rome; and local civil society organization representatives.
The ILC Asia Regional Assembly 2014 took place on 6 October where ILC Asia members were updated of the achievements and challenges in 2014. In addition, priorities for 2015 and beyond were discussed as well as the regional work plan including: Land Matrix, Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security or Voluntary Guidelines on Good Governance of Tenure (VGGT), IPs, Pastoralist, Women initiatives, Human Rights activities, Land Watch Asia, and national engagement strategies (NES).
A two-day Asia Land Forum 2014, open to local participants, was held on 7-8 October and was graced by the Ex-Finance Minister of Gujarat, India, Mr. Sanatbhai Mehta and Ekta Parishad President and Founding Member, Mr. PV Rajgopalan during the inaugural ceremony. Several plenary and parallel sessions took place tackling priority issues of land governance including rights to food and work, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), women’s land rights, non-violence, land matrix, land rights defenders, National Engagement Strategies (NES), land and environment, Indigenous Peoples (IPs), and Pastoralists. On the evening of 7 October, 4 members of the Asia Steering Committee (ASC) met with the 2 Regional Coordination Unit (RCU) staff to determine the next steps of the ASC.
October 9 was the Land Rights Mela where participants experienced the rural traditional way of living of the pastoral communities through showcases of livelihood, food and culture from 12 regions of Gujarat. The program includes poster presentations, dancing, singing, and served as an avenue to network and connect with other participants. Demonstrations stalls were everywhere and livestock competition took place: camel race, best cow, and best buffalo contests. The event served as an expression of solidarity with nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists who form the key constituency of MARAG's advocacy and capacity building efforts.
The last day of the event on 10 October was dedicated to field visits. Participants visited local pastoralist communities from villages that had successfully reclaimed around 40,000 hectares of pastoral land that had been forcefully acquired through land grabbing, learning best practices and taking stock of their ongoing struggles.