Members of the National Land Coalition (NLC) India have recently come together in Bhopal, India for a strategic planning meeting, an important milestone in forming the ILC’s new global strategy in the context of India.
With Ekta Parishad appointed as the coordinating organisation of the NLC, Ramesh Sharma of Ekta Parishad said the platform has committed to systems change to strive for people-centred land governance. “Ekta Parishad aims to collect politically significant data to advocate for land rights, provide structured training on the Forest Rights Act (FRA), collaborate with National Law Universities (NLUs) [in the country] for a dedicated course on Land Rights, work on government programs and state-specific land reforms, and more”.
The NLCs are multi-stakeholder platforms set in motion by the International Land Coalition (ILC). They are led by national actors, and include ILC members and partners to promote people-centred land governance. NLC platforms are helping to simplify and unpack land governance complexities by setting priorities and suggesting solutions to some of the most difficult land‑related issues in a country. In India, the platform is also known as the Land Forum India.
This blog highlights the assessment of strengths and challenges to new strategies, as well as the significance of cooperation and network building for accomplishing long-term goals. It also sheds light on the crucial role of land rights in achieving sustainable development and people-centered land governance which can assist to tackle climate change, ensure common property rights, and likelihood enhancement.
Strengths and Challenges
The strength factors include the unwavering commitment of members, their dynamic expertise in various areas, and a strong focus on the upliftment of the local communities they work with. However, the group also identified several challenges that need to be resolved such as resource mobilisation, monitoring and evaluation, visibility in advocacy spaces, as well as insufficient collaboration between the state government and local communities.
Striving for Common Property Rights
By building members’ capacities, promoting commons policy, and using data for advocacy, the action plan of the NLC seeks to improve access to, management of, and governance of common property rights covering resources like river land, mountains, pastureland, forest land, and wasteland. Understanding the effects of climate change on people, natural resources, and agriculture is a key component of the plan for combating it. Research, education, lobbying, the promotion of climate-resilient solutions, such as tree planting in public places, and working with government programs are all necessary for this. The strategy also aims to improve community livelihoods by tackling issues like migration, soil degradation, and food insecurity through strategies including supporting traditional practices, social security, and climate-resilient agriculture.
The coalition seeks to support sustainable development by putting a priority on enhancing land rights, concentrating on common property rights, combating climate change, and improving livelihoods. Through these initiatives, the coalition hopes to inspire a fundamental shift toward community-centered land administration, strengthen local communities, and promote sustainable development in India and elsewhere. Additionally, the group stressed the value of a varied membership, with a focus on women and young people in particular. They prioritised highlighting individual talents and encouraging teamwork. Last but not least, their talks and decisions aimed to strengthen leadership, promote collaboration, and guarantee the sustainability of India's people-centered land management for the long term.
Finally, Rajagopal P. V., founder of Ekta Parishad said that the young people of the ILC network play a key role in addressing the shrinking democratic space in the land rights movement. Youth have the ability to prevent violence through creative and collective approaches proactively and make social movements more long-lasting.
"Non-violence would enable ILC and NLC to continue their work on land and resources, advocating for a better future," said Rajagopal.