Coordination Effort in Bangladesh Leads to Stronger National Land Platforms and Joint Strategies through NES
Bangladesh is now entering its 4th quarter of the year 2 of its NES.
During this period, several activities were convened. ALRD (Association Land Reform Development) as the leading ILC member organization, was collaborating with other organizations working on the same issues, as well as of course participation from the Bangladesh’s ILC Members; ARBAN (Association for Realization of Basic Needs), Kapaeeng Foundation, and CDA (Community Development Association).
In the said activities, essential decisions were generated from productive and constructive dialogues, elaborated as follows:
- Training on Climate Change and Food Security
Collaborated with ARBAN, this training were held in three days, from 26th to 28th July 2016, and were participated by 27 people from 15 local partner organizations, among them 10 were women. The agenda of this training included the concept of land and agricultural reform and food security, climate change, river erosion, agricultural has land settlement policies, water shortage and water pollution, etc.
- Training on Land Management and Good Governance
A three days training on Land Management and Good Governance also convened by ALRD and Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB). It was started on August 22, 2016 up until August 24, 2016. Sharing knowledge on land administration and legal safeguard existing in Bangladesh are the main objective of this training. Thirty five participants from the Citizens Committee, conducted by TIB, from nine areas participated in this training. The participants enjoyed the training and demanded more refreshers’ training on it frequently as land administration, laws, management process etc. are very much complicated.
- Journalist Orientation on Women’s Rights to Land; Role of Media
ALRD has organized a training workshop titled “Women’s Right to Land: Role of Media” with the support of International Land Coalition (ILC) on 2 to 4 August, 2016 at ALRD conference hall.
This initiative departed from a belief that media can play a vital role to raise awareness in all walks of life on women right to land, understanding the necessity. The objective of this training is to sensitize the media personnel on gender dimension in land rights and access to natural resources.
This training was being participated by thirty five national and regional journalist including 10 women from varied print and television channels. They received opportunity to enrich their knowledge on land management, inheritance law, land survey, women contribution in agriculture, and right to access information act, etc.
- International Indigenous People Day 2016
Bangladesh was also participating in celebrating the International Indigenous People Day 2016 which fell on August 9 by holding a seminar entitled Seminar on "Prevention of Land Grabbing, Communalism and Militancy and Protection of Right of Marginal People including Indigenous People".
A national platform comprises 21 human rights and likeminded organizations, including 4 ILC members (ALRD, ARBAN, CDA, and Kapaeeng Foundation) in Bangladesh; came forward with the concept of forging ahead for a national unity to mark the 9 August 2016 as World Indigenous Day in Bangladesh, where ALRD executive director Mr. Shamsul Huda deliberates welcome speech in the seminar. In line with this, a preparatory meeting consequently has been organized in 25th July at ALRD conference room. This meeting has been formed a “Committee to Celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples- 2016” led by ALRD, that decided to organize a national seminar. That emphasized on strengthening democratic process of the country aiming to get rid of the existing crisis of communalism, fundamentalism, militancy and to protect land rights of indigenous people.
- Fact Finding Visit to Bhabadah area in Jessore on water logging issue
A fact finding visit was conducted in the three sub-districts Monirampur, Keshabpur, and Avaynagor under Jessore district, south-eastern part of the country, to see the sufferings of the local peoples and find out the reasons behind for water logging. The fact finding team comprising of 4 member delegates from ALRD, Nijera Kori, and BELA visited the spots, interviewed the residents of the affected villages.
Findings: People are suffering from different types of waterborne diseases; they do not have enough money or food as their fish farms, ponds, crop fields, roads, markets, and places of worships have been inundated. Around 50 schools have also been shut down. More than 10 lakh people of 200 villages in Bhabadah area, including Abhaynagar, Monirampur and Keshabpur upazilas of Jessore and Khulna's Fultala and Dumuria, are suffering due to water logging.
- Public Hearing
ALRD, BELA, WRF, and PSS jointly have organized a public hearing on people's demand and Government Initiative as solution to the water logging in three sub districts 26 September 2016 in Jessore. The event was supported by the ILC. Prolonged water-logging at these areas turned into sorrow of Jessore due to the accumulation of thick siltation of adjacent rivers and cannels.
The affected people demanded immediate and permanent solution to the water logging problem rather than discussions. They urged the government to take immediate steps for re-excavating the silted up of Shrinadi and Horinadi rivers and cannels, opening Bhabadah sluice gate and making it fully functional, and creating another sluice gate at the entrance of the Bhairab River. They also demanded that the government declare Bhabadah as an “affected area” and sought the prime minister’s direct intervention to mitigate the crisis.
A culmination of two years of coordinated efforts at the national level, the ILC's National Engagement Strategy in Bangladesh has managed to put people centred land governance at the forefront of the debate.
ILC’s country level work is implemented through its National Engagement Strategies (NES), where the ILC is setting-up and strengthening existing multi-stakeholder national land platforms and joint strategies, see here for more information on NES.