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Fatuma, an agricultural laborer in Tanzania, is among the millions of women worldwide who work on land but don’t own land of their own.
12 May 2020
Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa

This blog recapitulates the interventions made by the panelists of a recently held GODAN Action webinar on “Empowering Women for Open Data Mapping in Agriculture: Implications for Land Rights and the SDGs in Africa”, Victor Sunday, Dr. Toyin Ojo, Nathalie Sidibe and Uchechi Shirley Anaduaka.  

IRENE NYANGASI, RURAL WOMAN IN KENYA WHO NEEDS HELP TO SECURE HER LAND CAN NOT BE REACHED
21 April 2020
Authors: 
Mr. Israel Bionyi Nyoh
Africa

Platforms struggle to support communities to secure their land rights and develop agriculture

When the new coronavirus (COVID-19) arrived Africa in January 2020, governments announced draconian measures to contain its spread, including restricting movement and association.

16 April 2020
Gambia

Governments all over are asking people to stay at home, and The Gambia is no exception. Whilst this is to curb movements to limit the transmission of COVID-19, these steps can have unintended consequences for the poorest & most vulnerable.

How COVID-19 puts women’s housing, land, and property rights at risk
6 May 2020
Authors: 
Ms. Victoria Stanley
Paul Prettitore
Colombia
Indonesia
Global

It’s time we break down the barriers to women’s access to land and protect women’s rights while the pandemic places them in a precarious situation

Not only is the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) having serious health impacts around the world, it also has the potential to significantly affect the housing, land, and property (HLP) of women and girls, particularly in low and middle-income countries. 

Women at a disadvantage

How Anna Letaiko got her land
30 April 2020
Authors: 
Ezekiel Kereri
Tanzania

Anna Letaiko is a middle-aged woman with a soft voice that carries wisdom and strength. Her husband is an older man, and together they live in small mud house in Mundarara – a remote village in Longido district in Tanzania, accessible only by a rough dirt road. It is a Maasai community similar to the one in which I grew up, except that the community’s livelihood is based on mining and pastoralism while my community still depends on farming and pastoralism.

I met Anna through my work with WOLTS – a five-year action research project on women’s land rights in pastoral communities that are affected by mining. As a speaker of the Maasai language, my job is to facilitate and translate in training sessions and help develop training materials.

In Maasai culture, it is very rare for women to own land. Men see themselves as owning land on behalf of the whole family. If women do apply for land, they usually apply in the name of their husband or son. 

However, the law in Tanzania (Land Act, 1999, and Village Land Act, 1999) grants women and men the same rights to land access, ownership and control. The law also says that women have the same rights in decision-making over land. What Maasai customs mean in practice is that women are denied the right to apply for land and own it themselves. 

During our research we heard that, when women in Mundarara applied for land in their own names, their applications were ignored, not taken seriously, and even thrown away. Some women were even asked for sex in exchange for land documents.

Our aim through the WOLTS project is to support the community to find their own solutions to land rights problems. To help them achieve this, we asked them to select community ‘champions’ who would be trained in land rights, mining laws, investment laws, mineral valuation and legal procedures for licence applications, as well as gender-based violence. 

Anna was one of the first champions to be trained in Mundarara. When we first started working in the community, Anna did not even know that she had the right to own land.  After the WOLTS training sessions, she put in an application, and it was taken seriously. 

A few months later, Anna received a small plot near the village centre where she wants to build a modern house. As a trained champion for gender equity, she has promised to help other women by raising awareness and assisting them to become land owners like herself.

The growth of artisanal mining in Mundarara has brought many changes to the community, including giving families new sources of income. Women are finding that they have more opportunities to earn money and participate in community and family decision-making, including through land ownership. 

Documenting and sharing Anna Letaiko’s story reminded me how quickly life is changing in pastoral districts due to factors like mining. I hope it will inspire readers, raise the voices of less fortunate groups, and improve everyday life in communities similar to my own.

 

A Miskito woman in Nicaragua. Photo: Jason Taylor/ILC.
22 April 2020
Authors: 
Dr. Michael Taylor
Global

This is a special Earth Day Op-Ed by Michel Forst, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and Michael Taylor, the Director of the International Land Coalition Secretariat.

Asia-Pacific Off Track: 20% of SDG Indicators Predicted to be Worse in 2030
22 April 2020
Asia
Global

By Catherine Benson Wahlén, Thematic Expert for Human Development, Human Settlements and Sustainable Development (US)

Sustainable Forests and Reaching the SDGs
22 April 2020
Authors: 
Judith Walcott
Lera Miles
Global

Whether from the emergence of infectious diseases, the growing risks to global food systems, or from the increasing variability in global climate and local weather patterns, it is evident that we urgently need to rebalance our relationship with nature. Our relationship with forests is a prime example.

Forests are among the most biodiverse of Earth’s ecosystems. They sequester carbon and help to mitigate against climate change. They protect watersheds and help to control soil erosion. And yet, around 11% of carbon dioxide emissions come from deforestation and forest degradation, which is second only to the energy sector.

The 21st of March was the International Day of Forests, and it convened under the theme of forests and biodiversity. This is fitting in 2020,  the beginning of a critical decade for the planet. There will be landmark moments early in the decade, including the anticipated adoption of a new post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) is a Centre of global excellence in biodiversity. Over the past 10 years, we have been closely involved with REDD+, an initiative under the climate change convention (UNFCCC) that aims to support developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and to promote the conservation, sustainable management and restoration of forests. Working closely with the UN-REDD Programme, we help countries to plan for and access results-based payments for these actions.

In work led by UNEP-WCMC, the UN-REDD Programme has supported over 20 developing countries to analyze where REDD+ actions could result in multiple benefits beyond carbon. Through spatial analyses carried out in close collaboration with national partners, countries have been empowered to identify areas that have potential for forest conservation, restoration and sustainable management, and can also help secure a range of additional important benefits for people and planet.

These analyses have shown how sustainable forest practices across the planet can contribute to a wide range of the Sustainable Development Goals.

One such example is Costa Rica. The National REDD+ Secretariat, together with FONAFIFO (the country’s National Forestry Financing Fund) and the UN-REDD Programme used spatial analyses to explore where REDD+ actions could help secure benefits beyond carbon, such as enhanced water regulation to support communities vulnerable to water stress, the potential for socio-economic improvements from forest-dependent livelihoods, and from ecotourism.

The work emphasized areas of overlap between the National REDD+ Strategy and spatial priorities for Costa Rica’s other objectives, such as national development, restoration and biodiversity conservation. Considering these benefits when planning and implementing REDD+ will help progress towards SDGs 1 (No Poverty); 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation); 13 (Climate Action); and 15 (Life on Land), among others.

More recently, this work also featured in the development of Costa Rica’s Gender Action Plan (contributing to SDG 5 on Gender Equality). Spatial layers showing the proportion of women by district contributed additional insight and helped to highlight districts where women could act as conservation agents, support efforts to reduce forest fires, and undertake reforestation activities.

Another example is Côte d’Ivoire, where we collaborated with the country’s REDD+ Permanent Executive Secretariat and the Swiss Scientific Research Centre to develop a forest restoration opportunities map. This combined potential benefits, such as carbon density, soil erosion risk and species richness, with obstacles to forest restoration, such as infrastructure development and high human land use. The resulting map shows areas with higher potential and lower obstacles, and thus where forest restoration could be most effective and have the most positive impacts. This could include contributing to SDGs such as SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 13 (Climate Action), and 15 (Life on Land).

This type of analysis can identify where agroforestry actions are feasible to guide implementation of Côte d’Ivoire’s National REDD+ Strategy, promoting the use of agroforestry to strengthen agricultural systems’ resilience to climate change, and to diversify incomes for farmers. There is also an opportunity to align REDD+ and private sector cocoa initiatives, with the potential to create more incentives for smallholder farmers and contribute to SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), among others.

 Meanwhile in Viet Nam, lessons from the National REDD+ Programme are informing the development of a deforestation-free jurisdiction in the Central Highlands. This region is at the forefront of efforts to conserve natural forests and other biodiversity, while sustaining production of high-value crops like coffee. Both nationally and locally, partners are seeking to promote sustainable land management and pilot a deforestation-free approach in the region in support of SDGs 13 (Climate Action) and 15 (Life on Land).

 These individual examples give us just a snapshot of how retaining, restoring and sustainably managing our forests can help achieve a wide variety of SDGs and bring a range of benefits for people and for nature. As this year’s International Day of Forests slogan put it, our forests are too precious to lose.

More information is available here.  

 

31 March 2020
Authors: 
Emmanuel Mbise
Tanzania

As a Swahili speaker from Tanzania, I have not often had the opportunity to meet or work with people from remote Maasai communities. However, I recently visited the villages of Naisinyai and Mundarara in the north of the country as part of a global research project on women’s land rights in pastoral communities affected by mining (the WOLTS project).

Land grabs and broken promises on corporate responsibility, combined with government inaction, have led to conflict between corporations and communities in Borneo and Sumatra (Photo: David Gilbert, RAN via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)
1 April 2020
Authors: 
Mr. Lorenzo Cotula
Global

International standards can help businesses fill gaps in national law, but addressing issues at scale requires systemic governance reform.

 

Blogs

Events

Discussions

Organizations

Dynamic, agile and effective, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is working to secure a world where natural habitats and environments can sustain, and be sustained by, the communities that depend upon them for their basic needs and livelihoods.

From the cotton fields of Uzbekistan to the coastal waters of West Africa, EJF is working in some of the world’s toughest and most remote countries to shine an international spotlight on the environmental and human rights abuses that too often go unnoticed.

Adecru - Acção Académica Para O Desenvolvimento Das Comunidades Rurai

MISSION

Boost the focus of citizen conscience and sovereign agenda for local development promoting greater involvement and interaction between various national and international actors in favor of solidary and fair development of communities.

 

VISION

Rural Communities more actives in setting up priorities, definition, implementation and evaluation of action for their own development

Organização internacional que trabalha por justiça social, igualdade de gênero e pelo fim da pobreza. Fomos fundados em 1972 e estamos presentes em 45 países, alcançando mais de 15 milhões de pessoas no mundo. No Brasil desde 1999, atuamos em mais de 2.4 mil comunidades e beneficiamos mais de 300 mil pessoas. Trabalhamos em parceria com comunidades e organizações locais em projetos de educação, agroecologia e clima, igualdade de gênero e participação e democracia.

The Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) is a community of advocates for responsible U.S. relations with Africa. AFJN stresses issues of peacebuilding, human rights and social justice that tie directly into Catholic social teaching. AFJN works closely with Catholic missionary congregations and numerous Africa-focused coalitions of all persuasions to advocate for U.S. economic and political policies that will benefit Africa’s poor majority, facilitate an end to armed conflict, establish equitable trade and investment with Africa and promote sustainable development.

The African Charter established the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission was inaugurated on 2 November 1987 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Commission’s Secretariat has subsequently been located in Banjul, The Gambia.

In addition to performing any other tasks which may be entrusted to it by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the Commission is officially charged with three major functions:

The Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies was established as an independent Trust in 2002 to fulfil a need that had been observed through research, for a policy institute focused on addressing Africa's land and agrarian questions. The AIAS interacts with various organisations and countries to assist them in developing capacity for policy formulation and research. It also facilitates policy dialogue among governments, academics, civil society and others on land and agrarian development, especially the land rights of marginalised social groups.

 

Alianza por la Solidaridad

Alianza por la Solidaridad (the union of Habitáfrica, Ipade and Solidaridad Internacional) was created for the purpose of working towards a better and more sustainable world for each and every person, regardless of where they were born or where they choose to live.

At Alianza por la Solidaridad we invest all of our knowledge, experience and creativity in defending and advancing global rights for everyone around the world.

ALTSEAN-Burma (Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma) is a network of organizations and individuals based in ASEAN member states working to support the movement for human rights and democracy in Burma. The network is comprised of human rights & social justice NGOs, political parties, think tanks, academics, journalists and student activists. We were formed at the conclusion of the Alternative ASEAN Meeting on Burma held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, in October 1996.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 7 million people who take injustice personally. We are campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.

We are funded by members and people like you. We are independent of any political ideology, economic interest or religion. No government is beyond scrutiny. No situation is beyond hope. 

A Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil – APIB é uma instância de aglutinação e referência nacional do movimento indígena no Brasil, que nasceu com o propósito de:

– fortalecer a união dos povos indígenas, a articulação entre as diferentes regiões e organizações indígenas do país;
– unificar as lutas dos povos indígenas, a pauta de reivindicações e demandas e a política do movimento indígena;
– mobilizar os povos e organizações indígenas do país contra as ameaças e agressões aos direitos indígenas.

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is an independent, non-governmental body, which seeks to promote greater awareness and realisation of human rights in the Asian region, and to mobilise Asian and international public opinion to obtain relief and redress for the victims of human rights violations. It was founded in 1986 by a prominent group of jurists and human rights activists in Asia and serves to promote civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights.

ACTUAR is a non-profit and non-partisan secular legal person, governed by private law, formed in 2007 in Coimbra, Portugal. ACTUAR aims to contribute towards the fight against poverty and to the promotion of development based on values of solidarity, equity and human rights respect.

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