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“Towards Thematic Reviews for an Integrated Follow-Up & Review of the 2030 Agenda”

We are sharing the highlights of this event posted by the IISDA Reporting Services.

Participants of the high-level event

Participants of the high-level event. Photo by IISD. 

With the view of addressing the framing of a thematic review progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among over 150 countries, the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) and partners, with support from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR), organized a high-level event themed, Towards Thematic Reviews for an Integrated Follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda last 7-8 July 2016 in New York City.

The event provided an opportunity to around 100 country representatives from Permanent Missions to the UN, UN agencies, multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), academia, civil society, and private sector to discuss initial considerations regarding the requirement and framing of natural-resource related thematic review.

In a plenary session, participants recognized that conducting thematic reviews would offer room for inputs by stakeholders, and that it can provide an assessment on how follow-ups and reviews should be designed; hence, offering necessary space for the discussion to address linkages.

On breakout sessions, it was highlighted that the framework should focus on reducing complexity and ensuring integration, on linking with the official High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) process, and on accountability and empowerment – all with the participation of non-UN stakeholders.

The event concluded with the steps towards inclusive and integrated thematic reviews, with participants stressing the need to fully engage civil society and all stakeholders; the size, organization and financing of the HLPF Secretariat; the need to better communicate the SDGs to the public; the value of synthesizing views through non-UN processes; the need for central leadership for SDGs implementation; and how to overcome disinterest among academia and the general public in SDG implementation.

Philippines is one of the signatories of the 2030 Agenda. ANGOC took part in this high-level event.

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ANGOC and ILC participate in the International Civil Society Week

CSO leaders at the ICSW 2016. Photo by Juan Santacruz. Retrieved from civiscus.org.

CSO leaders at the ICSW 2016.
Photo by Juan Santacruz. Retrieved from civiscus.org.

ANGOC shared the experience of the Land Watch Asia (LWA) campaign in defending land rights and using its land monitoring initiative as evidence-based advocacy in two side events organized by the International Land Coalition (ILC) during the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) on 25-28 April 2016 in Bogota, Columbia.

Presenting an Asian perspective, ANGOC stressed the rationale and importance on land rights in reducing hunger and poverty, with land beyond just an economic commodity. ANGOC likewise shared the rationale of the land monitoring initiative of LWA, the process that led to the formulation of the indicators, the use of the monitoring reports and lessons learned.

ILC members present during the ICSW agreed to pursue the development of a monitoring system of ILC that will: i) be used as a tool to track progress of the implementation of ILC’s strategic framework, ii) assess how the achievements of ILC’s strategic framework contribute to the attainment of the SDGs, VGGT and Africa Land Policy Initiative, and iii) serve as a simple and sustainable system for members of ILC to monitor how they contribute to the outcome of the ILC strategic framework.

New farmer-landowners receive workshop on people’s cooperative formation

We are posting this update shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

ALRD Program Officer Mr. Rafiqul Islam discussing the importance of the collective farming. Photo by ALRD.

ALRD Program Officer Mr. Rafiqul Islam discussing the importance of the collective farming. Photo by ALRD.

State-owned lands (khas) in Beelkuralia, a 473-acre (191.4 hectares) agricultural land used to be a beel (wetland with static water) during the earlier times in Chatmohor Upazila in Pabna District, has been leased out to the local community since 2015. To date, 753 applications of the 1,196 has been approved and awarded to landless farmers and fishers providing 30 decimals (0.12 hectares) per family.

With this, ALRD organized a workshop on “The necessity, importance and process of the formation of people’s cooperatives” on 3-4 April in Chatmohor Upazila to discuss the multidimensional use of lands and retention strategies to avoid reselling of lands. The workshop also highlighted the importance and impact of building cooperatives in sustaining the use of agricultural lands; and the collective approaches for family-based sustainable farming.

135 Beelkuralia members have participated in this workshop conducted under the Formation of People’s Cooperative Program supported by Misereor.

Beelkuralia 2

Pakistan approves Hindu Marriage Bill

We are sharing this news posted in Madhyaman on 11 February, 2016.

Since Pakistan’s founding nearly seven decades ago, Hindu women have not been able to register their marriages causing struggles to women’s identity.

After decades of delay and inaction, the Special Committee of the Parliament unanimously approved the Hindu Marriage Bill on 9 February 2016 which is likely to be made into a law after passing through the National Assembly. This Bill is hoped to resolve minority women issues including inheritance rights and transfer of properties.

People’s initiative groups for family farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

We are posting this news story shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

BD cooperatives

State Minister Moshiur Rahman Ranga addressing his speech on how the existing cooperatives are working and the facilities government provided to the registered cooperatives.

Since 2012, ALRD has been providing capacity building to its partner NGOs working in 12 districts to motivate and organize farmers, landless, poor, men, women, indigenous people, and youth to form Gonoprochesta (People’s Initiative) Group. These people’s initiative groups promote collective farming and joint initiatives by using their own knowledge, technology, resources, and experiences for market access. Through the process of Gonoprochesta, rural people are using their own resources to create capital for collective investment in organic agricultural production. To assess this intervention, ALRD, with Economics Professor of Dhaka University, Dr. Abul Barkat, conducted a study in July 2015 to determine its impact on land fragmentation, women engagement, and food security. This study also intends to combat land commercialization and land grabbing.

On 5 December 2015, ALRD shared the preliminary research findings of the study, “Collective farming and initiative for market access of grassroots marginalized communities’ Gonoprochesta Group: An Exploratory Study,” to the policymakers, legislators, and civil societies in a conference on Gonoprochesta (People’s Initiative- PI) Groups and Small Collective Agricultural Entrepreneurs in Dhaka.

The research team presented the potential of the Gonoprochesta group in collective entrepreneurships and in helping poor cooperative farmers become self-reliant, thus will be able to provide safe food for the people. The findings from focused group discussions (FGDs) showed that Gonoprochesta group have resulted to farmers’ engagement in collective activities (self-employment of household members), women employment, youth engagement, income earning opportunities, access to land, and improved food security.

Gathering 200 participants from civil society, NGOs, journalists, governments, and academics, the conference aimed to create an environment for cooperation of government institutions; inform the government on collective farming through the exchange of experiences; promote the initiative in helping to create a social movement;  change the socio-economic status of rural people particularly in rural women for their social dignity and economic empowerment; and protect the legal environment of these initiatives.

The conference has also created a national platform to gather grassroots community people where they have shared their three years experiences on practicing Gonoprochesta activities, challenges, best practices and future dreams.

The conference was chaired by the executive director of ALRD, Mr. Shamsul Huda. State Minister for Cooperatives Mr. Moshiur Rahman Ranga graced the first session as the Chief Guest and Mr. Fazle Hossa in Badsha MP, member of the Standing Committee on Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives, as special guest. Dr. Abul Barkat presented the preliminary research findings of the study. Panel discussants were Professor Shafiq-uz-Zaman and Professor Rowshan Ara from Dhaka University.

In the second session of the conference, Professor Dr. Shima Zaman of the Department of Law, Dhaka University presented another paper titled, “A Legal Study on the Stunted Growth of Cooperative Societies Movement in Bangladesh and Legal Reforms for Engendering Changes.” Dr. Zaman illustrated the flaws in the existing cooperative laws of the country. Those are rather hindering the growth of cooperatives than encouraging initiatives.

Mr. Shamsul Huda expressed his optimism about the success of the initiatives. He put emphasis on the amendment of the existing cooperatives laws of the country to create conducive environment for them to flourish.

ALRD directs financial award to community projects

We are posting this news shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

All participants divided into four groups and worked out on collective way of farming by using their little piece of land. Photo: ALRD

All participants divided into four groups and worked out on collective way of farming by using their little piece of land. Photo: ALRD

Following ALRD’s participation in a learning route and innovation plan contest on improving women’s livelihood and access to land in 2014, ALRD, together with SUSTAIN, is channeling the financial resources awarded by Procasur to the community through implementation of the innovation project, “Strengthening Women’s Empowerment and Livelihood through Access to Land and Market.”

On 2-3 November, ALRD and SUSTAIN conducted the Mobilization and Leadership Training on People’s Cooperative in Dinajpur District. Gathering more than 50 participants who are mostly landless women, the 2-day event was to promote women-led cooperatives improving livelihoods of the rural poor.

Participants agreed to a new vision on entering into the People’s Initiative process (or ‘Gonoprochesta’ model) and taking into account social and economic changes. This initiative “promotes sustainable, small scale, family-based organic farming and rural enterprises, and provides direct access to land and market for disadvantaged communities, which in turn contribute to the country’s food security. The Gonoprochesta model empowers women by advocating their recognition at policy making level, and by enabling access to public land and to supporting services such as bank credits, agricultural inputs and technology, information and knowledge, and policy dialogue with government institutions. During the process, women are encouraged to create their own capital collectively, and to invest it in agricultural production of food and organic fertilizers.”

Participants selected their leaders and set a work plan for the next three months which includes saving a handful of rice twice a day and organizing weekly meetings. Their activities will be monitored and guided by the local partner organization of ALRD.

Philippines celebrates the International Year of Family Farming 2015

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Yolando Arban of IFAD giving his welcoming remarks.

Following the success of the first Philippine celebration of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) through the Knowledge and Learning Market –Policy Engagement (KLM-PE) in 2014, Government, CSOs, farmers, and fisherfolks, led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Philippines, once again commemorated this event, through the KLM-PE 2015 to continuously promote family and smallholder farming in ensuring food security and nutrition.

Themed, IYFF+1 Partnership for Food Security, Nutrition and Climate Resiliency: Increasing Farmers Market Power, the KLMPE-PE 2014 gathered 200 participants on 25-26 November 2015 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Convention Center, Quezon City to:

  1. Generate progress updates, review current challenges and opportunities on 2014 IYFF Declaration and commitments;
  2. Draw lessons from current models/innovations on climate-resilient agriculture, institutional purchase and farmers’ market, and agri-cooperatives;
  3. Agree on action points for 2016 that would advance capacity building and effective participation of family farmers in policy making and program implementation, monitoring and evaluation of current government programs that build farmers’ cooperatives, increase their market power and capacity to mitigate climate change.

Government agencies and CSOs presented updates of their work to the 2014 IYFF Declaration on asset reform, enterprise development, governance, climate change, and young farmers. CSOs[1], represented by the National Confederation of Small Farmers’ and Fishers’ Organizations (PAKISAMA) and Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), have reported their efforts on continuous lobbying of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Extension Law on completion of the land acquisition and distribution component, and on promoting new Administrative Order on municipal water delineation. CSOs have also provided support on the enactment of the National Land Use and Management Bill, the RA 10654 (“An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing”) and the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) shared their interventions on agriculture and poverty alleviation including the development of 100 sugar block farms to improve farmers’ income, and the Agrarian Production Credit Program offering lower credit interest rates to farmers. The Department of Agriculture (DA), on the other hand, presented the establishment of 150 weather stations as a climate change adaptation mechanism for farmers. In terms of agricultural research, DA has allotted more than Php1 Billion funds in 2015. Other ongoing interventions include road improvement for transfer of goods, agriculture and agrofishery credit programs, farmer’ training, and improved trading centers.

There was also parallel side events on “Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Resiliency,” Enlarging Farmers Market Power,” and “Agri Cooperatives” where participants shared and recommended points on good practices on empowering family farmers.

The two-day event concluded with the Government and CSOs accepting the challenges and policy recommendations of the “2016 Philippines IYFF+1 Action Agenda” handed-over by farmer organization representatives. IFAD-Philippines, DAR, AsiaDHRRA, and PAKISAMA committed on stage to continuously and strongly support family farmers and uphold rural development.

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Government and CSO representatives accepting the “2016 Philippines IYFF+1 Action Agenda” from farmer organization representatives. Photo by IFAD-Philippines. 

[1] AgriCord, Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), National Confederation of Small Farmers’ and Fishers’ Organizations (PAKISAMA), Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA), and We Effect.

Farmers receive legal assistance on land conflict resolution in Cambodia

The Svay Rieng Court arrested a military police officer on 30 June for grabbing 64 ha of lands from 51 families in Chantrea Commune, Chantrea District, and Svay Rieng Province.

STAR Kampuchea, provided legal assistance to these communities through lobbying the case to the Court, together with the community representatives.

Asian People’s Land Rights Tribunal – now online!

We are glad to share our newest publication, Asian People’s Land Rights Tribunal: Land Rights are Human Rights.

APLRT front pageThis publication is a report of the proceedings of the Asian People’s Land Rights Tribunal held last 16-17 January 2014 Quezon City, Philippines.

It features the four cases presented by the aggrieved communities in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This publication also includes recommendations for the communities and key principles for responsible investment addressed to national government and international organizations.

Training on Leadership development of the indigenous local government officials of CHT on land management held in Bandarban, Bangladesh

Post shared by the Association for Land Reform (ALRD).

training in CHT

ALRD and Headman Network of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) organized a training on Leadership Development of Headman and Karbari in CHT and Management on 11-15 June in Bandarban District in Bangladesh. Thirty participants including four NGO activists joined the 5-day training workshop where the following topics were discussed:

  • classification of CHT land, regulations and administration with historical background and present situation ;
  • different UN and international conventions relating to the rights of indigenous people (IP) and Human rights;
  • key stakeholders, processes of coordination, and ways to address IP-related problems; and
  • gender-specific issues problems of women in CHT.