2016 Asia Land Forum & Regional Assembly
From friendly chats to political dialogue- the ILC Asia Land Forum and Regional Assembly 2016 was a great success!
Every year, the ILC Asia Regional Land Forum is a unique opportunity to bring together many of the most prominent land-related organisations in the region, including grassroots organisations, activists, local and international NGOs, researchers, multilateral organisations and government agencies. Action-oriented, the Forum's programme is structured to provide opportunities to participants who may not otherwise interact in person, to debate, exchange, learn from each other's experiences and to build linkages. This year, on September 5th, the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), the International Land Coalition (ILC), the GIZ, and the Philippine Development Forum-Working Group on Sustainable Rural Development Forum (PDF-SRD), in partnership with AFA, AR NOW!,CARRD, PAKISAMA, PAFID, TFM and XSF organized the event.
Asia is home to more than half of the world’s population and about 75% of the world’s farming households, with about 80% of these being small-scaled farmers and producers. It is also home to most of the world's hungry. It is for this reason, and others, that this year's event took place under the theme: “Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals: Defending Land Rights of Communities to Achieve Food Sovereignty in the Region". The Forum presented and discussed food security priorities of international organizations and selected Asian countries and sustainable development goals in the context of hunger and land rights.
This Forum was divided into two sessions. The morning session on “Shaping the Land Agenda in the Philippines” particularly emphazised the host country's national land agenda, under the framework of land rights as human rights. Philippine CSO members of ILC sought to effectively address land rights issues that affect the lives of marginalized sectors by demanding for the passage of the (i) Completion of Notice of Coverage Bill or the NOC Bill, (ii) Indigenous Community Conservation Area (ICCA) Bill, and (iii) the National Land Use Act (NLUA) Bill, collectively called the “Triple Land Rights Bills". As a result, Filipino politician Teddy Baguilat committed to support the passage of these Bills in the current Philippine Congress.
During the afternoon session on “Realizing the sustainable development goals: Defending land rights of communities to achieve food sovereignty in the region,” food security priorities of international organizations and selected Asian countries and sustainable development goals in the context of hunger and land rights were discussed in depth. As a result, fifty-two representatives of grassroots organizations, peoples’ movements and CSOs from 10 Asian countries signed the Quezon City Declaration on Food Sovereignty calling upon concerned States, institutions, and corporations to respect and adhere to the 12 principles of the Declaration on protecting and strengthening land rights towards food sovereignty.
The next day, starting from September 6th to 8th, 2016, the Regional Assembly was convened in Tagaytay, Philippines. Representatives from organizations across Asia, including the 45 International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia members from 11 countries across the region, gathered there with one objective: To develop a regional workplan for 2017-2018. CSOs, NGOs, and INGOs alike share the common goal of promoting secure and equitable access to land for rural people by putting them at the center of Land governance. The members used five pillars to formulate the 2017 Workplan, which are People Data and Accountability, Criminalization and Human Rights, Community and Indigenous People, Women’s Land Right, and Youth Discussion. Meetings were also held on the NES processes in Asia.
More details on the Regional Assembly will be available on the ILC Asia website shortly. In the meantime, take a look at some of our pictures and videos recorded from the event here.
In the end, the series of the event also provided an opportunity for members to celebrate friendships, and to build on the relationships and connections for us to move forward, together.
Photo credit by ANGOC