The power of partnerships
More than ever, our work in the last three years has demonstrated that National Engagement Strategies (NES) are powerful engines for change.
From National Engagement Strategies (NESs) to National Land Coalitions (NLCs) - what’s in a name?As the 2016-2021 strategic period draws to a close, ILC moves away from defining its in-country work as National Engagement Strategies, and moves toward National Land Coalitions. These national partnerships that first came together around a common strategy have grown to become more fully a national expression of what ILC is globally: an alliance driven by people’s organisations, moving collectively towards a common goal of people-centred land governance to meet the land targets of the Sustainable Development Goals. National Land Coalitions are member-led, including both ILC members and non-members. Each NLC is tailored to the situation in the country in which it operates, but can call upon the expertise of the ILC and fellow members in other countries to address injustice by securing land rights and removing obstacles to land reforms.
With over 200 members and over 500 partner organisations in several dozen countries, these forums represent farmers, pastoralists, indigenous peoples, women, youth and other voices who combine to fight against historical dispossession, land-grabbing, resource-stripping, pollution and profiteering. NESs have scored major gains, in terms of policies implemented and practises changed, as the stories in this report show.
These are changes which can transform lives. Our work in Nepal, for example, has helped to break the Haliya system of generational feudal bonded labour, through securing land rights. Now the land is theirs. Instead of toiling for others, they can build, grow and invest for the sake of themselves and their children. In Peru, where women have historically been silenced and excluded from their communities, our efforts have ensured that at least 30% of community board members must be women. While in Cameroon, strengthening customary laws are protecting communities against dispossession, expropriation and eviction All of these achievements were made possible because of the broad coalition the ILC helped create, mobilising farmers, communities and policymakers to overcome vested interests.
We are also placing land at the centre of regional and global debate. Member-led Commitment-Based Initiatives (CBIs) across the globe have helped to shift narratives and build common political commitment to land rights.
Tragically, a record number of land rights activists are paying the ultimate price for their cause - with over 200 killed in 2020 alone, according to Global Witness data. We are proud to have consolidated protection funds in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean, to provide the defenders with their own line of defence, against intimidation, harassment, legal and physical threats and violence. Over the last triennium, the ILC has been successful in defending 33 defenders.
Revealing the shocking state of land inequality
The power of our network gives us a place on the world stage to highlight the stories of these defenders, bring public scrutiny to their battles, and facilitate adequate responses. We are also unique in our use of data to support communities and inform policymaking. Our Uneven Ground report, released in 2020, showed the scale of global inequality in land and grabbed media attention across the world. The study finds that land inequality directly threatens the livelihoods of an estimated 2.5 billion people involved in smallholder agriculture. The trends are only growing starker. There is much work to do.
Progress in a time of pandemic
When we embarked upon this triennium, we looked forward to the in-person meetings and on-the-ground community visits, which add so much insight, and build the lasting connections so vital in an international network. COVID-19 put paid to that. We are incredibly proud of how our members and our partners, and the ILC OneTeam, adapted and rose to the challenge. Recognising the terrible impact of the disease upon so many people in so many of the countries in which we work, it is also worth noting what we learned. The pandemic showed that local issues can become global issues, faster than we think. That we all share the same planet. And that the best — and only — way to tackle a crisis is through cooperation.
On behalf of ILC One team, we have been honoured to support the efforts and achievements of ILC members. This report is a salute to the incredible impact that members - working together with many others - have achieved over the past three years. The challenges are immense, but together we are powerful.
In conversation with ILC's co-Chairs
ILC in numbers (2019-21)
The strength of our coalition lies in the diversity of its membership. We thrive on sharing knowledge and ideas of different types of land users, from a wide variety of countries, regions, communities and experiences.
To give a flavour of the depth and breadth of this coalition, we have invited a small selection of partners to be your “guides”.
About this report
The strength of our coalition lies in the diversity of its membership. We thrive on sharing solutions to complex and entrenched challenges from different types of people living on and from the land, from a wide variety of countries, regions, communities and experiences.
To give a flavour of the depth and breadth of this coalition, we have invited a small selection of members and partners to be your “guides”. Most are representative of the people’s organisations at the ILC core, and include women, young people, family and peasant farmers, indigenous peoples, pastoralists and local communities for whom we collectively work. Choose your guide to accompany you on your journey through the report (you can change at any time), and they will contribute with comments and insights from their own unique perspective.
SELECT A GUIDE
Click on a guide to accompany you on your journey through the report (you can change at any time), and they will contribute with comments and insights from their own unique perspective.