Conservation, said Aldo Leopold, is harmony between (wo)men and land. Land should justifiably figure not only into the conservation, but also in development debates, policy and discourses. Missing land rights and land tenure security can be costly for states, communities as well as local and global development.
Fortuntaly, of late, land issues, especially land rights, has started catching the imagination of global and local policy makers, activists and researchers. Land rights champions, in particular, as well as development communities in general, are now seeing the signs of a global land rights revolution brewing. More inclusive development is now possible, with new hope of improving land records of excluded communities or rebooting green revolutions with women's land rights, or for that matter acknowledging and furthering the rights of indigenous communities for more effective conservation. This growing acknowledgement at global and local levels is evident with a number of SDG targets and indicators including land concerns.
In India, land is back on the development agenda, after the land-reform waves in post-independent decades, with Forest Rights (FRA, 2006), Fair Compensation Rights (LARR, 2013), Niti Ayog’s Model Land leasing reforms, Women inheritance Rights (HSA Amendments, 2005) and a revamped DILRMP, all underlining and reiterating the development connection.
Land tenure is also now increasingly noticed and recognized as the cause for stalled investment, an increasing number of conflicts, urbanization related disputes, or as a major reason behind the agrarian crisis. Whether it is the Kishan long march or adivasi rally, farm and forest rights are becoming the major demands. While un-updated land records and lack of recording of tenancy threatens the realization of intended benefits of pre-election farmer-appeasements schemes like Kalia or PM-Kisan by millions of small, marginal and tenant farmers, legal battles and social movements are also intensifying around rejection/recognition of millions of claims for forest rights by tribal and other forest dwellers.
There have been sporadic innovations around technology and institutional innovations and legal reforms attempted by central and state governments to secure tenure, land rights or just compensation of farmers, tribal, marginalized and the excluded, such as the Odisha model around slum dwellers’ land rights and liveable habitats, land pooling models in Delhi and Amravati, Forest Rights Act implementation in Maharashtra and Odisha, women land rights initiatives in Odisha, stamp duty reduction for registering deeds in the name of women in several states, and land records digitization, including on-line mutation and encumbrance in Karnataka and erstwhile Andhra Pradesh etc. However, much more is required as pointed out by critics and those familiar with the situation on the ground.
The India Land and Development Conference is an attempt to learn, discuss and debate on these critical land and development linkages with an aim to justifiably centrestage land in the development policy and discourses in India. ILDC aims to change and amplify land-narratives, gather evidence for policy and practice, trigger networks and alliances, fertilize knowledge management and convene action, and contribute to the larger goals of inclusive land governance and sustainable development.
A first of its kind initiative, the ILDC is the only national event concerning land and development in India. It provides a convergence platform for inclusive conversations and increased connection between land actors joining from governments, academia, NGOs, movements, media and businesses.
This third edition of the ILDC, under the theme “Partnership for Enhanced Inclusion and Impact”, brings together more than 30 local and global land actors as partners. ILDC2019 has about 25 parallel sessions apart from plenaries, master classes, innovation fairs, networking events, along with many pre and post conference events.
These sessions will share and deliberate emerging issues, challenges, good practices and recommendations around critical and contemporary land tenure subjects including forest rights, women land rights, small farmers’ land rights and leasing, rights of tribal communities and customary tenure, urban land tenure, land records, common lands, technology and innovations. There will be about 150 land experts, including researchers, practitioners, activists and decision makers sharing and deliberating their thousands years of experience and work. ILDC brings together about 300 delegates from different parts of India and globe, from various sectors, working at different levels, but all land rights enthusiasts, willing to learn, share and further their interest and work. In a political forum, during ILDC, summary deliberations of will be interfaced with political manifestos as delegates discuss the land-agenda of the national parties in a session on India’s election eve. The 3rd ILDC will close with a summarized consultation on the issues, challenges, good practices and way ahead, with partners agreeing to take forward the learning and recommendations in their own way and jointly.
ILDC this year also will launch two alliances around land: one an academic land alliance to connect land researchers with each other and with policy and practice, and another a bigger initiative, India Land Ecosystem which aims to build a Symbiotic Collective of multi-sectoral Land Actors towards Inclusive Tenure Security.
Momentum towards ILDC begun quite early this year, with a series of three webinars organized on the Land Portal by ILDC Secretariat (NRMC-CLG) in partnership with ILDC partners early this year. To strengthen engagements with media and to help better and more reporting of land and property rights, in partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation and FES, ILDC organize a Media Workshop with young journalists on 11 March. As a post-conference event, NRMC-CLG, the Land Portal Foundation and Datameet also jointly organize a workshop on India Information Ecosystem on 15th March. A campaign “Our Land Our Story” to showcase the real life land rights stories from the field of ILDC partners to enrich and add emotion to the land narratives is also being launched during ILDC.
The ILDC social media accounts to follow, via Twitter, are the following:
@IndiaLandConf , as well as the NRMC Center for Land Governance’s account @Center4Land.
For all information related to the event, please Tweet using the hashtag #ILDC2019
More information and updates on the ILDC can be found at: http://centerforland.org/ildc2019/
More about ILDC is available at https://landportal.org/blog-post/2019/01/five-facts-you-need-know-about-india-land-development-conference-ildc