The Road to the India Land and Development Conference 2020: An Interview with Pranab Choudhury | Land Portal

The  4th India Land and Development Conference, set to start next week, invites a wide variety of individuals and institutions to engage in thought-provoking and interdisciplinary conversations and analyses.  More specifically, the Conference's theme Institutions, Innovations and Informations in Land Governance invites us all to think about the role that information sharing can play in helping to ensure effective land governance.  It is with this in mind, that we had the chance to speak with Pranab Chouhury, one of the Conference organizers, in order to gather some pre-conference perspectives and food for thought.  

Pranab is a practicing researcher and consultant in the areas of natural resources management and governance with about two decades of experience.  Below are his perspectives on the upcoming Conference, as well as key issues which the Conference will cover.  


1) Would you be able to give us some logistical information about the upcoming ILDC Conference? 

ILDC2020 expects to have about 40 partner institutions including University of Cambridge, UK, Hertfordshire Law School, IIM Ahmedabad, NCAER, Azim Premji University, TERI, RICS, TISS among academia; CPR-Land Rights Initiative, Foundation for Ecological Security, Housing & Land Rights Network, , Land Forum, The Nature Conservancy, UNWomen-India, WGWLO, WRI-India etc. among NGOs; ICRISAT, Global Land Alliance, Landesa, Cadasta Foundation, Land Portal and Thomson Reuters Foundation among global organization.

There will be enriching and interdisciplinary land-conversations in more than 30 sessions, two conclaves around SDGs (SDG 2 and SDG 5a), a common’s day (on the 3rd of March), two plenaries with key notes, 6 master classes and release of a State of Land in India Report, 2020. There will be pre-conference events with GeoSpatial Media Actors on the 1st March and also a post conference event with Private Sector around Land Responsible Investment on 5th March. 

Twitter : @IndiaLandConf. #ILDC2020

2) Some of the main themes of the Conference and some of the main discussions that will take place? 

As India moves a decade closer to meet 2030 UN Goals and gears up to sustain economic growth,  the theme of 4th ILDC focuses on institutions, innovations and information around land governance.  It seeks to deliberate on how these connect and can contribute to local and global development more inclusively and sustainably.   
With the aim of furthering the inclusion agenda, discussions would highlight the need to locate rights within human rights,  around women's land rights and economic justice, transitions around customary tenure and rights of indigenous communities and influence of caste on land ownership in Indian societies. Expanding debates on land, investment and development, ILDC sessions this year will delve into the growing urban informalities, problems of enclaved urban villages, growing real estate regulations while also capturing and analysing urban tenure innovations and transformations.  Furthermore, the increasing land and investment tensions will be discussed while exploring sustainable pathways around fair compensation and new tools like mineral funds for mine area development. Focusing on promises of Commons, emerging institutional, ecological and livelihoods experiences will be brought together from different geographies while also dwelling on trends around forest rights and rights of pastoral communities. Deliberations will also be around role of innovative technology and finance in forest sector and emerging narratives around influence of land tenure on food and nutritional security and climate change as well as that of land data, records and digitisations on financial inclusions and instruments and public services. Engagement with private sector actors would span across  scope of sustainable investment, use of land information for land-market development as well as opportunities around technology domain. Global experts will share their experiences around working with land data, technology, M&E and land administration pathways and discuss their implications for India.  Arguments to take the land discourses to a different level with a lens of multidimensionality will be made in a key note around lives of land. Along with Intelectual conversations, various art forms will be deployed to engage with Indian cultural narratives around land.

3) Why is there a need for such a Conference at the moment? 

India boasts historically-evolved, legally-pluralistic, content-rich and digitally-enabled land administration system, unparalleled in the world for its size and diversity. While land matters to all and is increasingly being competed for and contested; engagements around land administration, research and advocacy have traditionally remained siloed, sectoral, scattered and often ad hoc and reactive. Of late, there is a growing realisation of the need for changed engagement.  The business as usual approach of dealing with land by state and non-state actors are increasingly failing. In this situation, ILDC is a pro-active attempt to bring actors from Sarkar (Government), Samaj  (Civil Society) and Bazaar (Private Sector and Market), working around and at the interface of land and development, together and help them interact in an open and inclusive platform. The objective is to promote inter-sectoral, inter-disciplinary and multi-level conversations on land and development to further, intensify and change land conversations, catalyse cross-learning and amplify innovations. 


4) What is the Conference hoping to achieve? 

By triggering connections and facilitating networking among land-actors and institutions during and beyond the conference, ILDC seeks to contribute towards coordinated and impactful research, innovations, advocacy and actions for improving land tenure security and achieving sustainable development goals. It hopes to expose corporate leaders and executives on the compelling need to manage land tenure risks, along with potential innovation and strategies for Sustainable Investment for Inclusive Growth drawing from local and global norms, frameworks and experiences. For geospatial actors, ILDC aims to build a sustainable business case around inclusive land tenure mapping while rationalizing the scope of partnership ecosystems among geo-spatial players and land tenure actors.

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