Asian farmers share experiences in VGGT popularization

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Asian farmer leaders gather in Yangon, Myanmar for the “Regional Sharing Workshop on Popularizing the VGGT to Secure Rights to Family Farmers” on 5-7 August 2015 organized by the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and hosted by the Agriculture and Farmer Federation Myanmar (AFFM) with support from the International Land Coalition (ILC).

The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) was, approved in 2012 at the FAO. The VGGT sets out principles and internationally accepted standards and practices for systems that deal with the rights to use, manage, and control land, fisheries and forests. The Guidelines, when implemented properly, can help a country achieve food security and nutrition, sustainable livelihoods and sustainable social and economic development. While the VGGT has far-reaching potentials, it however needs a strong push at the country level for it to be adapted and effectively implemented. Primordial task is to keep small-scale farmers aware of the VGGT so that they can exercise their claim-making efforts and engage their governments to adapt it.

Secured rights to lands, fisheries and forestry resources is a basic need and demand of small scale women and men family farmers and producers. In a region where many of us still face problems of landlessness, continuous displacement and stronger threats of land grabbing and conversion of resources to non-agriculture uses, the VGGT presents a powerful instrument whereby farmers, civil society groups, governments can assess tenure governance, identify improvements and apply them.

The Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development, (AFA) is implementing a project entitled “Popularizing the VGGT Among Small Scale Farmers Organizations, Relevant National Government and Inter-governmental Organizations“, with the support of the International Land Coalition. The project aims to:

– Deepen the understanding and appreciation of VGGT by farmer leaders and key government officials at national level amidst their current conditions and struggles on land issues; and,
– Support and facilitate implementation of land tenure assessment and action plans particularly those concerning large-scale land investment at the country and regional levels.

One of the main activities in this project is the conduct of a regional sharing workshop where existing initiatives on popularizing VGGT and using VGGT as reference for assessing governance of tenure will be presented. In hearing these initiatives, we hope to encourage other organizations and governments to also initiate national processes leading to the promotion of the most relevant provisions of VGGT. The regional workshop hopes to bring together regional level farmers organizations, NGOs, and research institutes as well as inter-governmental organizations such as ASEAN, SAARC, FAO, IFAD, ADB.

Objectives:

– Appreciate and learn from existing initiatives of farmers’ organizations, NGOs, and inter-governmental organizations in popularizing VGGT and using VGGT as an instrument to assess existing national laws on lands, fisheries and forests
– Formulate recommendations and actions on how to follow through the existing country initiatives and how to expand to other countries, given lessons learned

Expected Participants: Representatives from

– AFA member organizations
– Representatives from regional intergovernmental agencies
– Relevant governmental agencies
– CSOs who have programs on land forest, fisheries and agriculture food security



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