Securing Land and Property Rights for All

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glfAs the global population continues to grow and the demand for food and the land to produce it on increase in lock step, the International Land Coalition brought together 273 people from 47 countries in Antigua, Guatemala from April 23-27 to discuss territorial governance and food security in the context of rapid urbanisation and shifting patterns of land use throughout the developing world.
This global event included extensive participation of the government of Guatemala, including a speech by President Otto Perez Molina during the opening ceremony, in which he expressed a renewed commitment to the Integrated Rural Development Law.
The 36-year civil war suffered by Guatemala led to both the fragmentation and concentration of land. In response to these disturbing developments, the forum aimed to create a new platform for dialogue and consultation in Guatemala and to forge a more just and inclusive process for this country.
"Given the extent of commoditisation of farmland, transnational land transactions, severe land degradation, and the profound transformation of rural landscapes as a consequence, we have reached a critical period in which states must make genuine efforts to protect the rights of impoverished and vulnerable groups, in particular small-scale farmers and indigenous peoples, or increased conflict and instability may jeopardise the economic stability of countries, including Guatemala", said Madiodio Niasse, Director of the International Land Coalition, based in Rome, which works for secure and equitable access to and control over land. "We hope that the discussion we have started will open a new era of dialogue and consultation to have better equity in the way this country addresses land issues."
The Global Land Forum and Assembly of Members culminated in the approval of the Antigua Declaration by ILC members. The declaration recognises the need for land to be looked at not just as a productive asset, but to be valued for the various functions that it plays, including cultural, spiritual and ecological functions; it highlights that land is a means of establishing the dignity and inclusiveness of people. A notion of territorial development that reflects this multiplicity of functions was the first element of consensus of ILC members.
Importantly, the declaration recognises the commitment of the government of Guatemala to compensate the families evicted in the Polochic Valley in the name of agricultural investment.

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