Transformative Practice

Inclusive Land Governance

Both ENDS works with partners around the world to ensure that land is governed fairly and inclusively and managed sustainably with priority for the rights and interests of local communities.

Conflicts over land are common in many places around the world. The increasing demand of the global economy for minerals, natural resources, and primary products drive agribusinesses and mining companies into new areas in search of land. Where communities lack secure land (use) rights, the land they use is at risk of conflict, being allocated to or grabbed by large companies often with the support of local or national authorities. Land insecurity and dispossession poses a direct threat to people's livelihoods, right to food, health, access to water, social and cultural integrity, and identity.

Securing land (use) rights at all levels

Access to and control over land that is used by local communities is a fundamental part of inclusive land governance and sustainable land use practices. Sustainability means investing for the long term and, unfortunately, land-insecurity often prevents land users from doing so. Securing land (use) rights at the local, national and international level is therefore central to the discussions of sustainability, including sustainable trade & investments, ecosystem management, halting land degradation and deforestation and protecting biodiversity.

At the local level, land users (many of them women) and communities often lack formal recognition of their land (use) rights, despite having used and protected the land for generations. Both ENDS works with civil society organisations towards recognition of land (use) rights in policy processes, for example by community mapping, land use planning, advocacy towards local and national governments, and securing a seat for communities at local, national and international decision-making tables. At the same time, we support communities by putting collective, communal and women's land (use) rights on the international agenda, which is too often mainly focused on land use practices without taking into account the importance of land security.

Both ENDS and partner organisations have actively contributed in the development of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) by the UN Committee on World Food Security. Since the adoption of the VGGT by all UN Member States, we advocate for these guidelines to be implemented in national and international policies, such as the UNCCD's Strategic Framework and Dutch land-use policies.

Identifying and upscaling sustainable land use practices

Communities who depend on their natural environment for their livelihoods tend to use natural resources in a sustainable way, in order to secure their children's livelihoods. They have developed sustainable land-use practices, that are tailor-made for the local situation and needs. However, due to climate change these practices have to change, as the knowledge of natural systems has to adapt to new weather patterns, droughts and rainfall patterns. Where land (use) rights are insecure, due to land conflict with other users, communities tend to spend less time and resources in long-term investments in the land (e.g. planting trees, foster soil health, etc.) .

Therefore, Both ENDS together with partner civil society organisations – is committed to identifying sustainable, climate-resilient land use practices, like agroecology, Non Timber Forest Products, farmer-led restoration etc., in order to promote them, spread knowledge to other communities interested in these practices, and seek finance for implementation. At the same time, Both ENDS and partners speak with policy-makers at all levels about these sustainable alternatives to unsustainable practices and the enabling policy environment that is needed.

Examples of inclusive and sustainable land governance

Both ENDS and partner organisations have been advocating for and supporting inclusive and sustainable land governance initiatives for a long time. Some examples include:

Participatory land use planning (PLUP):
In 2010 we started a pilot project on Participatory Land Use Planning in West-Kalimantan. We have shared our experiences with PLUP with other CSOs, policy makers and scholars and in various other projects and contexts.

Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR):
This is a method of land restoration by nurturing what spontaneously springs from the soil and protecting the sprouts from cattle and hazards. Besides sharing knowledge of this method between communities, in our FMNR-projects we foster cooperation between farmers and pastoralists and advocate for responsible land governance with local and national authorities.

Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs):
Harvesting and processing Non-Timber Forest Products such as fruits, nuts, honey, herbs or rattan is an important livelihood strategy for many forest communities. We work together with local communities to support the sustainable collection of NTFPs while also ensuring that local land (use) rights and forest management policies support secure communal land tenure and sustainable forest management.

Building an inclusive land justice movement

Both ENDS is committed to work towards land justice together with a wide and diverse network of civil society organisations. These organisations identify, promote, upscale and implement inclusive land governance and sustainable land-use practices, work with communities, and advocate towards their local and national governments. Both ENDS' expertise lies in building international networks of like-minded organisations, linking local realities to international policy arenas, and connecting civil society organisations with funders. Together we have the capacities, knowledge and skills needed to make global land justice a reality.

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