We meet Rosalía in a roadside café in a dusty town in the Quiché department, in Guatemala’s Western Highlands. She lowers her voice whenever people come in – you never know who might be listening. Land is sensitive stuff, especially in Quiché, a region that still bears, perhaps more than any other part of Guatemala, the scars of the civil war (1960-1996) – as we will see. In 2018 alone, 15 defenders of land rights in Guatemala have been killed with total impunity, several of them in Quiché.
Ahead of next week’s World Bank conference on land and poverty, Lorenzo Cotula and Brendan Schwartz discuss how development finance institutions can better address land rights issues.
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.
Agriculture represents a key sector in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially when it comes to lifting close to a billion people out of rural poverty. We can’t ignore that many millions of poor households continue to depend primarily on farming.
- Nearly five years after Friends of the Earth U.S. reported about escalating conflict between farmers in the village of Lunjuk on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and palm oil company PT Sandabi Indah Lestari — or PT SIL — those communities remain in conflict with PT SIL, which supplies Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader.
On September 19, Liberian President George Manneh Weah signed into law the Land Rights Bill (LRB), a landmark piece of legislation that recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to their customary lands and gives customary land the same standing as private land in Liberia.
As members of the land community, we know that access to a stable and flourishing piece of land, even the smallest plot or parcel, has the potential to be ground-breaking and life-changing. It means the difference between health and illness, between being read and illiterate, and in the most extreme cases, the difference between being fed and hungry. In essence, it determines one’s life path, the key factor between qualifying for essential government services and living at the peripheries and margins of society.
This past December marked seven years since the start of the Arab Spring, one of the most “viral” revolutions of our time. In a matter of months, uprisings spread quickly from Tunisia to Yemen and changed the landscape of the region. While the causes and effects of the Arab Spring have been the subject of thorough analysis over the years, the revolutions emerged so quickly and with such force, in part, because of very palpable, muffled disillusionment.
By Chris Jochnick, President and CEO of Landesa
The development community has experienced various “revolutions” over the years – from microfinance to women’s rights, from the green revolution to sustainable development. Each of these awakenings has improved our understanding of the challenges we face; each has transformed the development landscape, mostly for the better.