In the six months since the coronavirus began its global spread, more than 15 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and more than 600,000 have perished. Governments around the world have instituted lockdowns and shut down businesses.
In central Mongolia, the summer is warm and soft rain falls on the steppes. For herders like Baasandorj, it is a busy time of year, filled with combing sheep’s wool, milking cows and making dairy products for the winter.
Organized as in partnership with the Ford Foundation, the Land Portal Foundation and the Tenure Facility and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, this series of three webinars features indigenous and non-indigenous leaders in a virtual roundtable to discuss both the key effects that COVID-19 is generating in their communities as well as possible solutions and the way forward.
Land is an essential source of livelihood for a majority of Sierra Leoneans. Most of Sierra Leone’s population lives in rural areas and it’s GDP is largely based on agriculture. The three main livelihood activities surveyed in the 2015 population and housing census are crop farming, animal husbandry and fishery, which depend largely on access to and ownership of land. Smallholders mostly cultivate rice, cassava, cocoa, coffee, cashew, groundnut, palm oil, vegetables and other fruit trees.
Despite the achievement of Constitutional democracy in 1994, 'the land question' is at the heart of South Africa's struggles to overcome the cumulative legacies of nearly 350 years of white minority rule. The emotive quality of land policies evokes painful legacies fuelled by disappointments with the official land reform programme ushered in by the new Constitution of 1996. There is broad agreement that land reform programmes have not fulfilled their aims to significantly redistribute land and productive agrarian capacity, strengthen land tenure for the majority, and settle the restitution claims of victims of land dispossession.
Producing food for the world’s growing rural and urban populations starts with agricultural land. Reducing current high levels of hunger and malnutrition, as called for by the Sustainable Development Goals, will depend on land use decisions and governance from the global to the local level. Although about 40 percent of the world’s land is used for crop production and pasture, today some 800 million people remain food insecure and as many as 2 billion are malnourished. Achieving food security requires physical, social, and economic access to safe and nutritious food.
With secure land tenure, Indigenous Peoples and local communities can realize human rights, achieve economic growth, protect the environment, and maintain cultural integrity. For centuries, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have used, managed and depended on collectively-held land for food supplies, cultural and spiritual traditions, and other livelihood needs. Historically governed through customary tenure systems rooted in community norms and practices that often go back centuries, governments often consider such community land as vacant, idle, or state-owned property. Statutory recognition and protection of indigenous and community land rights continues to be a major challenge.