Category Archives: Governance of Land and Resources

ANGOC participates in MRLG Regional Consultation and Planning Workshop

For the next seven years, the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) Project, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) will support regional multi-reform actor platforms and the bringing together of reform actors from CSO, government and private sector that support the strengthening of smallholder tenure in land, forest and fisheries. The MRLG Project will be initiating learning and advocacy activities and will be providing two funding facilities to meet the demand for reinforcing the land tenure security in four countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

The panel of the MRLG Regional Consultation and Planning Worksho. Photo by NGO Forum on Cambodia. Retrieved from

The panel of the MRLG Regional Consultation and Planning Workshop. Photo by NGO Forum on Cambodia. Retrieved from

In this regard, MRLG organized a consultation and planning workshop on 4-6 March in Bangkok, Thailand, bringing together active stakeholder representatives of the four countries and identified regional level key reform actors to prepare a first year plan for regional level learning and advocacy component activities. Other objectives of the workshop include: (1) to contribute to the elaboration of the project strategy on important cross cutting issues; and (2) to provide a forum for discussions, exhibiting current activities and networking with Mekong region reform actors on land and forest governance issues.

 The following are the thematic areas identified as regional priorities during the workshop:

  • Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure (VGGT)
  • Engaging ASEAN
  • Customary tenure addressing land conflicts
  • Regional information sharing network.

 ANGOC shared the initiatives of the Land Watch Asia campaign, and explored further linkages with MRLG in pursuing land rights in Mekong sub-region.

Bangladesh: Training course on land governance and administration

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

Resource person discussing on good governance on land administration with the participants of the training

Resource person discussing on good governance on land administration with the participants of the training

ALRD organized two separate training courses, Land Governance and Administration” at Dhaka on 9-12 and 17-20 November for its grassroots partner to provide clear concept in establishing good governance on land administration sector along with rationale of food security and the need to protect agricultural land. Fifty-four participants form ALRD’s partner organizations attended the training.

Course content includes:

  • concepts of good governance and its necessity in land administration;
  • land registration, mutation, revenue and land survey;
  • land use policy;
  • land reform ordinance of 1984;
  • Khas Land and water body management and distribution policy;
  • land management structure and its activities;
  • proposed agricultural land protection Act-2011;
  • concept of food security and current trends;
  • rules on food security and agricultural land protection under the State Acquisition and Tenancy act, 1950;
  • do’s and don’ts of land administration for implementation; etc.

Lessons learnt: Some significant improvements and insights of participants’ knowledge particularly on, good governance, land related documents, protection of agricultural land and land administration, food security showed during the training period as outcome shortly. Moreover, the training allowed the participants to understand the meaning of land related technical terminologies and their uses in different aspects of land related cases. 

In the feedback session, the participants asserted that the knowledge they gained through these courses would facilitate them in awareness building activities among the mass people. They also argued that most of the cases in our country are land centric due to the absence of personal, social and institutional awareness. Participants also suggested the protection of agricultural land from grabbing in diverse purposes by influential individuals or by the state itself.

VGGT Publications: Now Online!

We are happy to share ANGOC’s three new publications under the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests (VGGT) project; prepared to identify the existing gaps in policies and programs on the governance of land and resource tenure in the Philippines, and to familiarize stakeholders on the VGGT:

VGGT and NLUAThe Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the context of National Food Security (VGGT) and the Proposed National Land Use and Management Act (NLUA)

This discussion paper analyzed to what extent the salient principles and recommendations of the VGGT are substantially reflected in the NLUA (House Bill 108). With the NLUA in place, this study concluded that policies and planning standards, with the integration of tenure rights, will be applied consistently.

VGGT and land lawsReview of Selected Land Laws and the Governance of Tenure in the Philippines: Discussion Paper in the context of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure (VGGT)

This paper examines Philippine policies on land and resource tenure as embodied in the 1987 Constitution and ten major laws on tenure, and then analyzes these policies in comparison to the Voluntary Guidelines, in order to identify areas of policy convergence, divergence and gaps.

VGGT and raiPrinciples of responsible agricultural investments: Philippines’ Multi-stakeholders Input to Committee on World Food Security

This discussion paper has been prepared to tackle the challenges underpinning investments in agriculture, which impact on food security and tenure rights of the poor. The paper concludes with a set of recommended principles on responsible investments, considered as part of the inputs of thePhilippine government to the ongoing CFS-initiated global consultation on rai.

Sindh government fails to distribute promised 144,561 acres of land among poor

We are sharing this article, published last 24 July in OnePakistan News, which talks about the Sindh government failing to distribute 144,561 of the promised 200,000 acres of land under the Landless Hari Program in 2008.

It would be opportune for the Sindh government to start a third phase of the program to continue with the distribution of the remaining lands among poor farmers, particularly women peasants and the freed bonded laborers.

This article also illustrates how land ownership patterns are considered to be a major cause of the growing hunger and bonded labor in Sindh – that about 2% of the households control more than 45% of the land area; and implies that bonded labor results to laborers’ loss of assets.

But with the inclusion of bonded laborers’ rehabilitation into the Landless Hari Program, food and livelihood of these marginalized people will be secured, and bonded labor in Sindh will be eliminated, as Waheed Jamali, Executive Director of the Society of Environmental Actions, Reconstruction and Humanitarian Reponse (SEARCH) concludes.

For more information, please contact Mr. Abdul Waheed Jamali (SEARCH Executive Director) at

Read the article here.

Agrarian reform: Powerful law, ineffectual bureaucracy

Agrarian reform: Powerful law, ineffectual bureaucracy.

DAR sees wider land reform coverage

DAR sees wider land reform coverage.

ANGOC and PDF-SRD convene Philippine conference on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure (VGGT)

natlVGGT1Quezon City, Philippines — While the Philippines has a strong policy framework and sound general principles on tenure rights consistent with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of Food Security (VGGT), resource rights policies are highly fragmented and sectoral, hence the conflicts in their implementation.

This is one of the major findings shared during the national conference on “Resource Rights at Stake: Realizing Responsible Governance of Resource Tenure in the context of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure” last March 20, 2014  at the Department of Agriculture Bureau of Soils and Water Management Conference Hall in Quezon City, Philippines. More than 120 participants from various government agencies, academe, civil society organizations and international donor agencies attended the conference.

This culminates a year-long initiative by the Philippine Development Forum Sustainable Rural Development sub-working group (PDF-SRD), together with the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC) and the National Convergence Initiative (NCI), to assess Philippine policies on tenurial security vis-à-vis the VGGT of the Committee on World Food Security.

The conference imparted the highlights of three studies on applying the global voluntary in improving the Philippine policy environment related to tenure security and resource governance. ANGOC conducted three studies on the VGGT and 1) current Philippine policies; 2) the National Land Use Act, and 3) responsible agricultural investments (rai). ANGOC Chairperson Antonio B. Quizon presented the consolidated results from the three studies at the meeting.

natlVGGT2Mr. Quizon pointed out the interconnected relationships between land, fisheries and forests and their uses as well as the need for an integrated approach in their administration. His major observations are:

First, unlike some Asian countries that have a comprehensive and consolidated Land Law or a Land Code, tenure governance in the Philippines today is founded on numerous legislations that define the policy, legal and organizational frameworks related to tenure and governance of land, forests and fisheries.

Secondly, while new laws or amendments are continually being passed by the legislature, the old laws are often not repealed. Sections of old laws are merely superseded, replaced or amended by the new laws, and this system allows the old laws to retain their residual validity in whole or in part. The overall result is a complex system of legal jurisprudence that often only lawyers can navigate.

Thirdly, the country has taken on a highly sectoral approach to land/ resource policy, tenure reforms, and land/ resource administration. There is CARP/ER for agrarian reform covering public A&D and private agricultural lands, Fisheries Code covering municipal waters, and IPRA for ancestral domains. In addition, there is the Mining Act, NIPAS, Forestry Code, and others.

Finally, climate change adaptation and disaster response policies in the Philippines are silent on the protection or restitution of resource and tenure rights post-calamities. Policy should address the tenure rights of people likely to be or have been affected by climate change, as well as of host communities in canatlVGGT3ses of resettlement, especially with respect to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda.

The participants also identified recommended action areas and next steps. Some proposals are to assess the effectiveness of existing tenurial instruments, review and harmonize overlapping policies including fisheries and water rights, push for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), promote people-centered principles for responsible agricultural investments, and ensure the security and protection of people’s tenure rights affected by climate change. #

ANGOC stresses land tenure security for agri productivity at ASEAN Prep meeting

Bangkok, 6-7 September: Land tenure for small-scale food producers need to be secured to sustain agricultural productivity.

This was emphasized by the Asian NGO Coalition (ANGOC) at the Preparatory meeting for the Second ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture & Forestry (AMAF)-Private Sector Dialogue in Bangkok from 6-7 September 2012.

This dialogue allowed members of the private sector and civil society organizations to meet and engage with the ASEAN-AMAF on areas that the two sectors could potentially collaborate in to strengthen food security for the region.

The preparatory workshop aims to discuss and consolidate the issues that will be presented at the 2nd AMAF-Private Sector Dialogue on Food Security, and will focus discussions on three topics: agricultural productivity; agricultural credit; and women in agribusiness.

Building upon the precedence of the first dialogue held in October 2011, the 2nd AMAF-Private Sector Dialogue on Food Security has been scheduled on 27 September 2012 in Vientiane, Lao PDR. #

‘Land rush towards Asia should be regulated’

The land rush towards Asia by rich nations wishing to secure their food needs should be regulated as the trend threatens to reverse agrarian reform gains and  leave communities and resources in the host countries vulnerable to exploitation, said a land reform advocate.

In a paper, Antonio B. Quizon, chairperson of the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (Angoc), said governments must develop clear policies on the new wave of land deals from rich countries as these have implications not only on their people’s needs and rights but also food security and the environment.

“It is imperative for citizens to exact transparency and accountability from their government, ensuring the state regulation of foreign investments. The effect should be maximum benefits for the citizens – people’s needs and rights prioritized and protected,” he said.

“Governments must develop clear policies on foreign land investment that engage the overriding interests of the country’ – from food security to environmental sustainability of land and natural resources,” he said in the paper published in Lok Niti, Angoc’s journal. The paper was based on a regional workshop held last year in Bangkok on public- private partnerships for land investments.

Quizon said the trend threatens gains in land reform because the new land deals will increase the concentration of land ownership and access in favor of the foreign investors. “Greater land competition also increases land values, thereby leaving the rural poor outside of land markets,” he said.

He said the new wave of land acquisitions, which had been labeled the “new colonialism” and the “international land grab”, has been driven by rising world food prices that started in the 1990s and peaked in 2006-2008. To secure their food needs these wealthy nations scour for farmlands overseas for the large-scale production of food,  livestock and other products which will feed their citizens.

Another driver for the land rush is the growth of the biofuel industry which has shifted land use from food to biofuel crops, Quizon said.

In Asia, the land rush has been led by rich countries from the Middle East and East Asia, he said. He cited another study which said that as of end-2008, China, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Saudi Arabia controlled over 7.6 million cultivable hectares overseas.

Quizon said host or target governments welcome the investments into the agriculture sector unmindful the trend could compromise long-term food security.

He blamed the “hunger of global capital” for the land rush as it “commodified” everything – land and water, plants and genes, and even “clean air” in the form of “carbon emission quotas”. “This commodification of land fuels the rush for the world’s farmlands,” he said. Read the rest of this entry

Indonesia’s mega food estate may ‘undo’ Marind tribe

INDONESIA: A massive food estate, envisioned to boost Indonesia’s food production, might be the “undoing” of a tribe in  West Papua, the easternmost island under the country’s control, an NGO warned.

In a paper, Sawit Watch,  (Oil Palm Watch) said  the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) poses a threat to the Marind tribe.

Members of the Marind tribe obtain  almost 97% of their needs from forests, swamps, rivers and the sea, the NGO said in the paper  published in Lok Niti, the journal of the Asian NGO Coalition.

“Thus, when all customary forests of the Marind are converted for business interests, it is not so hard to imagine that this will be the undoing of the tribe,” Sawit Watch said.

“The MIFEE mega project will only worsen the situation of IPs who own the customary right, as has happened to the Marind Mbiyan and the Yeinan in District Muting, as well as the Ulilin and Elikobel tribes who faced the same dilemma,” said the NGO, which has been documenting the expansion of palm oil plantations in the country since 2000. Read the rest of this entry