Category Archives: Natural Resource Management

Asia Land Forum: Shaping land agenda and defining land rights to achieve food sovereignty

Participants of the Asia Land Forum.

Participants of the Asia Land Forum.

The Asia Land Forum was held on 5 September 2016 in Ortigas Center, Quezon City, Philippines. Divided into two parts, the Forum engaged the Philippine Government on the proposed legislative land agenda of the CSO members of the International Land Coalition (ILC), and provided space for knowledge exchanges on achieving food sovereignty through advancing land rights. Around 85 participants from the Governments of Philippines, Nepal, and Cambodia; intergovernmental organizations (ADB, FAO, IFAD, WB); CSO representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand  took part in the discussion.

The morning session on “Shaping the Land Agenda in the Philippines” pressed on the land agenda for the Duterte Adiministration under the framework of land rights as human rights. Philippine CSO members of ILC demanded 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 as the “Triple Land Rights Bills,” to effectively address land rights issues that affects the lives of marginalized sectors such as indigenous peoples, farmers and fisher folks as well as the urban poor communities.

Wilson Requez of the People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network, Inc. (AR Now!) discussed that more than 69,000 hectares (ha) of landholdings are yet to be covered for redistribution (DAR Status Report, 2016) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). With the failure to pass the NOC Bill on completing the land acquisition and distribution provision of the CARP during the 16th Congress, it is hoped that in this 17th Congress, the Bill will be passed as the legislative champions for agrarian reforms both in the Lower and Upper Housed have already filed bills for the Completion of Notice of Coverage and are hoping to sustain the momentum it gained during the 16th Congress.

Dave de Vera of the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID) highlighted the importance of ICCAs in conserving indigenous people (IP)’s lives and source of livelihood leading to biodiversity conservation. Hence, the passage of the ICCA Bill will further strengthen the mandate of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) and will highlight the very important role of IPs in the conservation of our remaining resources.

Lastly, Elmer Mercado, EnP of the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) stressed that a clear land use policy through the NLUA should be passed to rationalize the use of lands and address the current degradation of country’s land resources.

Representative Teddy Baguilat  committed to support the passage of these Bills in the current Congress.

During the afternoon session on “Realizing the sustainable development goals: Defending land rights of communities to achieve food sovereignty in the region,” participants discussed the food security priorities of international organizations and selected Asian countries and sustainable development goals in the context of hunger and land rights.

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. See Declaration here.

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 this event.

Peter Hauschnik of GIZ opening the Forum

Peter Hauschnik of GIZ opening the Forum

 

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ANGOC Chairperson Emeritus Fr. Francis Lucas opening the Forum.

 

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Representative Teddy Baguilat giving his reaction to the presentation on the proposed NOC Bill,

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Attempted murder to an indigenous environmental activist in Cambodia

We are posting this news shared by Prey Lang Community Network (PLCPN).

Location of Prey Lang Forest in Cambodia. Photo by intercontinentalcry.org

Location of Prey Lang Forest in Cambodia. Photo by intercontinentalcry.org

Prey Lang Community Network (PLCPN) activist Phan Sopheah was attacked by an unknown group of people while camping in Bueng Char Region during their patrol in the Prey Lang Forest on 23-27 March 2016.

As part of PLCPN’s initiative on protecting the Prey Lang Forest, PLCPN visits four provinces surrounding the Prey Lang Forest (Kampong Thom, Preah Vihea, Kratie and Stung Trung) to monitor and suppress the illegal logging in the forest. During their 5-day patrol, PLCPN have confiscated illegally logged woods, 35 chainsaws, and other tools used for logging.

Sopheak was sent to a local clinic for quick treatment on the same day and is now safe. She is one of the young Prey Lang activists nominated to represent PLCN to receive an Equator Prize from UNDP in December 2015 in Paris.

Sopheak is already the third indigenous environmental activist attacked during the month of March. The other two were indigenous activists murdered in Honduras on 3 and 16 March 2016.

PLCPN calls for the following to Government:

  1. Fully investigate the attempted murder on Sopheak and bring those criminals to justice.
  2. Permanently criminalized all forms of timber trading, both legal and illegal, in the Prey Lang region.
  3. Stop all logging activities in the Prey Lang region.
  4. Conduct Investigations to determine who is involved in the logging business.
  5. Help to intervene and cooperate with PLCN to protect Prey Lang.

Philippines: Local government units and advocates firmly stand against mining

Panel of discussants of the “National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining.”

Panel of discussants of the “National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining.”

The current policy (EO 79) of the Philippine administration on mining is viewed by local government units (LGUs) as an aggressive promotion of large-scale mining. With a close to 50%-record on the number of provinces with anti-mining ordinances, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CoMP) and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce have issued a position that local ordinances cannot supersede a national law like the Mining Act of 1995. On a brighter side, a new bill to immediately direct increased taxes and mining revenues to the LGUs was filed in the Lower House – the Mining Revenue Bill.

With these, the Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) led the National Policy Dialogue on Local Autonomy and Mining on 13 November 2015 in Quezon City to review the status of local legislations on mining projects; enhance the awareness and learnings among locally elected officials on the current issues of mining, specifically the challenges the LGUs face; and produce a set of actions that facilitate convergence of advocacy efforts on local autonomy and extractives.

Local chief executives, public administration experts, civil society groups, and other stakeholders participated in the dialogue which focused on the ‘local autonomy and mining: the LGU right to say “no” to mining,’ and on ‘the economics of mining: taxes and revenues from mining, are they worth it?”

Based from legal frameworks and economic return data presented, the event concluded that LGUs have the right to resist entries of mining activities, and that mining merely contributes to Government revenues by 0.004%, thus telling that mining is not worth engaging.

The results of this dialogue will be part of a report to be shared to LGUs; used as bases for dialogues for the 2016 elections; used for lobbying other legislative reforms including fiscal regime.

Organizers of the national dialogue also include RePubliko, CLCG, LILAK, Philippine Society for Public Administration (PSPA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Bantay Kita, Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and the Provincial Governments of Albay, Nueva Vizcaya and Oriental Mindoro.

Asia Regional Forum on Land Administration and Management in Rural and Urban Areas

Participants of the "Asia Regional Forum on Land Administration and Management in Rural and Urban Areas."

Participants of the “Asia Regional Forum on Land Administration and Management in Rural and Urban Areas.”

Around 50 representatives from CSOs, academic institutions, government, national, regional and international organizations from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka met last 18-19 October 2015 in Jakarta for the Asia Regional Forum on Land Administration and Management in Rural and Urban Areas.

ANGOC and Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), hosted by the UN-Habitat, Land Watch Asia (LWA), International Land Coalition (ILC-Asia) and the Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA) organized the forum to generate knowledge and identify policy and implementation gaps in land administration and management projects.

Through the workshop, participants were able to (1) analyze policy and implementation challenges and opportunities in ensuring rural and urban poor’s tenurial security through land administration and management projects; (2) share existing tools and approaches in addressing such challenges; and (3) plan strategically at the regional level on how to address these issues and how to continue the process of dialogues.

Danilo Antonio of GLTN emphasized the duality of land administration’s capability to facilitate or deter land reform and agrarian justice, and the importance for CSOs to capitalize on the knowledge of this duality in fulfilling their goals. The forum concluded with Nathaniel Don Marquez of ANGOC enumerating the challenges faced by this regional platform particularly in bringing and expanding synergy among CSOs, government, academe and private sectors.

Next steps include three areas of work agreed upon by the participants: i) policy work, ii) tooling and iii) information networking.

Bangladesh: Seminar on women empowerment

We are sharing this article contributed by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

“Women in Bangladesh are struggling for a long time to ensure their equal rights and opportunities in family, society and state as a whole. Even in the twenty first century, still they are the victims of social, political and economic discrimination due to the patriarchal mindset”, said Advocate Manik Majumder, Judge Court, Faridpur in a seminar.

Participatory discussions among partipants

Participatory discussions among partipants

This seminar, “Women empowerment: Land Rights and Access to Natural Resources” was arranged by ALRD and Beneficiaries Friendship Forum (BFF) on 10 November in Faridpur

Discussants of the seminar said that women are deprived of having access or ownership to land and natural resources. Though 70% of women in our country directly or indirectly involve with agricultural works, they do not have the recognition as farmer. Article 29 of the constitution recognizes equal rights for women in all sphere of life; however, equal rights are not ensured for women till now.

Property rights are still governed by religious laws which lack equal rights for women. However, whatever the laws and policies are, the process of acquiring property is a challenge. Most of the time, women are deprived of acquiring ancestral property as well as government allocated khas land.

In this circumstance state has to take essential steps to ensure women access to land and natural resources. They also demand Khas Land Act instead of Policy so that poor and marginalize women’s access to land can be ensured which would be the arm to empower women.

Climate change can deal blow to land tenure

Climate change and natural disasters threaten land tenure in Asia and can even deal “heavy blows” to smallholders, according to a loose coalition of civil society groups pushing for land reform in the region.

“Reactive ways of dealing with natural hazards and climate change will no longer work: it is imperative for communities to develop resilience in terms of climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction,” said NGOs under the Land Watch Asia campaign in a paper examining the struggle for land rights in the region.

Climate change and hazards demand new ways of approaching land rights, the group said, noting impacts on agriculture, migration and land use. The impact of climate change and disasters on land tenure is an emerging issue, the group said.

Land Watch Asia is a regional campaign made up of 17 NGOs and People’s Movements from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and Sri Lanka all working to improve access to land and natural resources of the rural poor through policy reform and capacity building. It is convened in Asia by the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC).

“Rainfall patterns and temperatures are becoming more variable and extreme. Rains do not come as expected; or when they do it is at extremely high levels. Farmers are noticing changes in water availability, water levels and temperature, which can have adverse effects on cropping patters and crop growth,” the group said. Soil quality and water availability are also affected. Read the rest of this entry

Kyoto Protocol on Life Support

Kyoto Protocol on Life Support.

Source: http://www.ips.org (InterPress Service website)

Pakistan agriculture sector needs 2 yrs to recover from flood ravages: ADB

ISLAMABAD, SANA: Asian Development Bank ADB said Monday the agriculture industry of Pakistan could take up to two years to start recovering from devastating summer floods.

Read more via Pak agriculture sector to take 2 yrs for recovery from flood ravages: ADB.

Churchs rejoice at ban on open pit mining in Philippine province — Intellasia.Net

22-JUN-2010 Intellasia | Independent Catholic News

Leaders of the local Catholic Church hierarchy in the Philippine province of South Cotabato have joined with environmental and human rights groups in welcoming a ban on open pit mining. The local government ban, passed on 11 June, is contained in a new Environment Code for the province, located in the Southern island of Mindanao. (more)

Remembering the ‘Rio Conventions’ from the 1992 Earth Summit

Remembering the Three Rio Conventions

Remembering  the Three Rio Conventions By Ramesh Jaura

IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) – The botched UN conference in Copenhagen may prove to be a blessing in disguise by way of correcting the imbalance that has favoured climate change but nearly ignored desertification and biodiversity that are two other centerpieces of the three ‘Rio Conventions’ emerging from the Earth Summit in June 1992.

A closer inter-action between the three Conventions may in fact liberate the new Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Christiana Figueres, from much of the pressure that apparently crushed Yvo de Boer and culminated in his decision to quit the job. (Click link for more)

IDN InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters.