Kathmandu: More than hundred land and environmental defenders including policymakers, academicians and CSO representatives urged South Asian governments and other regional actors to ensure land and resource rights of women, small-scale farmers, indigenous peoples, marginalized communities including landless. The participants discussed the deteriorating condition of marginalized communities due to climate change.
Participants in the Regional Environmental Policy Dialogue on ‘securing land rights of women and indigenous peoples in the face of climate change in South Asia’ organized in Kathmandu said that secure land rights are key to climate justice.
In all the countries of South Asia there exists a significant gap between land and environmental policies, actual practices and real needs of the people. As such the participants recommended to the governments to ensure meaningful and effective participation of women, indigenous peoples, and local communities in policy formulating and their implementation processes.
Secretary of the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMCPA), Dr Damodar Regmi said “government has been putting a lot of efforts to resolve land related problems through various policy measures, however it cannot be resolved in isolation and requires joint efforts from relevant change makers.” Meanwhile, Saswati Roy, women activist from India emphasized enhancing local and indigenous knowledge systems to adapt with the climate change effects as a means of enhancing the resilient capacities of the communities.
The Regional Environmental Policy Dialogue was organized by National Land Coalition (NLC) Nepal in coordination with Community-self Reliance Centre (CSRC), International Land Coalition (ILC) Asia and the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation of Nepal in support of Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) Asia.
The dialogue provided an interactive forum to grassroots leaders from various social movements, civil society organizations, academia, indigenous leaders, government officials and women leaders for sharing, discussion and reflections on recent policy development and future challenges to people centered land governance in support of inclusive and equitable climate change adaptation, mitigation, and local agency in South Asia, mainly Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Comprehensive discussion and deliberation on the significant issues around land rights of women and indigenous peoples has come up with important points as recommendations that will be submitted to multiple actors including the government, civil society organizations and other regional and global bodies.