The International Land Coalition has released a new strategy that centers on securing land rights for “women, youth, family and peasant farmers, indigenous peoples, pastoralists, forest dwellers, fisher folk, afro‑descendants and local communities.” The Agrarian Trust is a member of the International Land Coalition (ILC), a global coalition of over 300 members dedicated to the advancement of people-centered land governance. Agrarian Trust is committed to supporting the ILC’s mission to restore land rights, along with the organization’s objectives of building strong, small-scale farming systems, supporting locally managed ecosystems, and creating models of land management that facilitate inclusive decision-making.
According to the ILC, 80 percent of the land held by Indigenous people is not not legally recognized as their own. At the same time, 70 percent of the world’s agricultural land is owned by only 1 percent of landowning corporations and individuals. The ILC reports that 3.7 billion tons of carbon are stored under Indigenous land, and identifies Indigenous and locally controlled land as hotspots of ecological diversity. This is no coincidence; Indigenous and pastoral communities have long histories as land stewards, and continue to innovate new solutions to the problems posed by climate change. The restoration of land rights is therefore not only an important means of redressing historical injustice toward Indigenous communities, but also a task of the utmost importance in addressing the rapidly deteriorating climate.
Over the past six years, the ILC has doubled its membership and successfully lobbied for eighty-three people-centered policies in twenty-nine countries. In Kyrgyzstan, for example, the ILC member organization Kyrgyz Jayity (National Pasture Users Association of Kyrgyzstan) successfully pressured the Khyrgyz government to “give more responsibilities to the communities to restore their pasture.” The Khyrgyz pastoralists use restorative practices such as rotating grazing land and fencing in small patches of land to test new varieties of grass seeds for their resilience to climate change. You can watch a video detailing their story here.
Now, the ILC seeks to leverage the power of its coalition, which represents more than fifty-six thousand communities and seventy-one million people worldwide, to enact lasting systems change—shifting power from the small minority of landowners and corporations to the people who live on the land. This will involve placing grassroots organizations at the center of national-level efforts, ensuring that women and youth are centered in the decision-making process, and collecting data that will serve as a much needed beacon out of the current exploitative system of land tenure.
The Agrarian Trust is one of many organizations around the world fighting for local people’s control of the land. In the struggle to reclaim the commons and dismantle the global system of land enclosure and expropriation, Agrarian Trust recognizes the importance of collaborative international networks, and seeks to learn from our global partners as they share a common cause. If you are interested in learning more, please stay tuned for our forthcoming Global Spotlight blog series dedicated to highlighting the work of organizations around the globe that Agrarian Trust is inspired by, and aligned and in network with.