The Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call on our food systems. In Asia, while family farmers produce most of the world’s food, they remain lacking control over tenurial security and food security, among others. Further, governments’ policies to ensure food security in the times of Covid-19 tend to be partial, failing to take into account the key roles that family farmers play to promote sustainable, resilient, and diversified food systems.
Securing the right to land and natural resources for the landless, indigenous peoples, pastoral communities, women, youth, and peasant groups is fundamentally more relevant now than ever, in order to build back better. Land rights are a foundational element to various pillars of sustainable development: more resilient local food systems; more equitable, labour and youth absorbing socio‑economic models; more sustainable environmental management systems; and stronger local democracies.
The disruption of food chains caused by the pandemic has weakened family farmers, women pastoralists, indigenous peoples in their livelihoods. This is why we need local solutions that take full account of the potential diversity of the region’s food systems. It is within this context that the International Land Coalition (ILC), Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), and the People's Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network (AR Now!) are convening this regional event.
Asia Land Forum
Every year, ILC Asia organises the Asia Land Forum (ALF). This unique event brings together ILC members and other stakeholders ranging from grassroots organisations, activists, local and international NGOs and researchers, to multilateral organisations and government agencies from the region. The event aims at developing a common ground of the political, economic, environmental, and social linkages between land governance, food security, poverty, and democracy.
By convening all members and key partners of the network, the Forum creates opportunities for participants to learn from, and contribute to, land governance successes and challenges. The Forum is also an opportunity for ILC Asia’s 54 members to adopt a declaration with a common action plan during the Regional Assembly.
The Asia Land Forum is divided into three sub-events.
1. Regional Forum “Sustaining Family Farming in Asia through Inclusive, Farmer-Driven Approaches” - 6-7 October 2020
In 2018 and 2017 respectively, 51% of the world's poorest and 62% of the hungry are in Asia-Pacific mostly live in rural areas. Ironically, the region has 80% of farming families working on two hectares average and producing 60% of the world’s food. Of those engaged in agriculture here, 50% are women (IFAD 2011) while the youth who make up 19% of the total population in Asia (UN ESCAP 2012), specifically rural youth, deviate from farming due to low income.
Civil society organizations promoted the establishment of country-level multi-stakeholder mechanisms, like the National Committee of Family Farming (NCFF), currently existing in the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, and India. These NCFFs have members from the Government (except India), family farming organisations, and CSOs. This regional forum aims to promote and strengthen multi-actor partnerships that contribute to positive policy changes in family farming in line with the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF)
2. Thematic parallel sessions on land issues related to Covid-19 and food systems - 8 October 2020
ILC Asia invites members to organise thematic discussions on land issues pertaining to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on local communities in the region. These discussions are framed in the context of building sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food systems. ILC’s member-led initiatives have played a critical role in mitigating the crisis by giving humanitarian assistance to local communities, distributing staple food packages, and raising awareness of protective measures.
The following are the thematic areas that ILC Asia members will bring to discussion:
- Addressing the violations against land and environmental rights defenders in the times of Covid-19
- Promoting an enabling environment for sustainable & resilient food systems at the country level in Asia
- Achieving resilient food systems and mitigating climate change through restoring rangelands
- Securing land rights for women and girls in Asia: How the Beijing +25 action plans strengthen the food system
3. ILC Asia Regional Assembly: Strengthening ILC Asia in the Land Rights Movement - 9 October 2020
The last day of the event will be dedicated to ILC Asia’s Regional Assembly of members. This is a closed-door event for ILC members to focus on the governance of ILC Asia platforms, its possible membership expansion, and its progress in implementing the 2019-2021 Work Plan in the times of Covid-19. ILC Asia members are expected to write a declaration on the efforts to reimagine a food system that is fairer, more sustainable, more resilient, and more nutritious in a post-Covid19 world.
General objective: To discuss the relevance of securing access to and control over land and natural resources to ensure sustainable, resilient, and diversified food systems in the post-Covid19 world.
- Promote and strengthen multi-actor partnerships that contribute to positive policy changes in family farming in line with the UNDFF
- Monitor and document the violations against land and environmental rights defenders and provide recommendations
- Identify concrete ideas, action plans on how to address the barriers of reversing degraded ecosystems
Highlight the importance of securing family farming tenurial rights including for women, youths, pastoralist, and indigenous peoples and protecting land rights defenders, to achieve a more sustainable, resilient & diversified food systems
- Ideas and action plans for restoring degradation of the ecosystem are explored and identified where the roles of indigenous peoples, youth, women, and pastoralists are recognised
- The National Committee on Family Farming (NCFF) becomes an arena for family farming organisations to hold governments accountable for family farming policies
- Strengthened partnerships and platforms for continued multi-stakeholders’ engagements at the regional and national levels
- A declaration of a reimagined food system and land governance in Asia that intersects with the aforementioned themes.
Participation in the event will be open to the public and will include speakers from family farming organisations. If you are interested in participating, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org
The event is organised by the Asia Regional Coordination Unit of ILC, in partnership with ILC Asia members the Asian Farmers’ Association (AFA), ARNow, and the global research organisation the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI). The event will be entirely done virtually through multiple Zoom sessions due to the travel restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.