full publication

Right to Land and Livelihoods
Ruchi Tripathi
Head Right to Food
ActionAid International
ActionAid’s work on food, land and livelihoods
• ActionAid works through partners on the ground – CBOs,
farmers organisations, landless peoples movement, indigenous
peoples organisations and movements, women’s groups ,
people living with disabilities, forest dwelling communities,
tribal groups
• Many of them are focused on land struggles and issues around
access to land on a daily basis
• ActionAid’s committed engagement with local communities
through local rights programmes helps with the long-term
nature of struggles around access and control over land
• ActionAid’s main organisation wide campaign: HungerFREE has
a focus on women’s right to land and investing in women
smallholders. The campaign in Europe, US, Brazil and parts of
Africa (e.g. Senegal, Ghana) has a focus on biofuels which have
an impact on food price volatility and land grabs
Different ways of supporting work on land
• Partnerships with local and national landless movements;
and working in solidarity (India, Brazil)
• Sending out urgent appeals for urgent campaign action
(PSO, France)
• Technical and practical tools to access land: eg. Land
accountability project in Tanzania that is developing a toolkit
jointly with the Tanzania land alliance. It is also working on
land matrix project tracking land grabbing.
• Helping communities get access to land and stopping land
grabs (Bangladesh, Mozambique, Senegal, India, Brazil,
Different ways of supporting work on land
• Engagement in policy fora such as:
– International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural
Development (ICARRD); AU Framework and Guidelines
on Land Policy in Africa; Voluntary Guidelines on
Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and
• Support for mobilisation
– including through Launch of HungerFREE Women
• Implementing multi-country projects on women’s right to
• Co-organising Pan African Women’s Land Rights Conference;
Partnerships with OXFAM and ACORD at continental levelAfrica
• Co-organising dialogues on land grabs in Africa with regional
farmers’ organisations and the International Land Coalition
Key issues for ActionAid
Women’s right to land and access to natural resources
Land policy and agrarian reform
Support struggles against land grabs
Food production based on right to food and food
Support agroecological principles through local rights
programmes and wider mobilisation
Stopping Biofuels targets and subsidies/land conversion
No to soil carbon capture
Human rights based approach: empowerment, solidarity
and campaigns for change
Land and natural resources will remain central in the
next strategy period 2013-17
Women’s rights to land – key issues
• Women rarely have ownership and control over land
• Women rarely sit in the governance institutions (traditional or
formal) that make decisions on land.
• Land held in trust for rural populations or pubic land, upon
which women depend is most susceptible to land grabs.
• Patriarchal practices subjugate women within families and
communities. In all forms of land tenure systems, women’s
rights to land is often limited to access, which is often subject
to maintaining a good relationship with male relatives.
• Many national constitutions and laws treat matters of land
ownership, inheritance and transfer, property sharing in
marriage and divorce under personal law that perpetuate
discrimination on the basis of culture.
• There are real and potential violent backlash when women
assert their rights to control land.
• There is an increased dispossession of land from widows and
orphans due to HIV/AIDs00
Framing the issue is key
• From a right to food perspective access to and
control over land is critical for food and livelihood
• Rights of rural women, and access and control of
natural resources is a key issue but
• Land is also a resource that women must/can own in
their own right – property
• Land as source of power & dignity (and identity) as
its about Rights
 Rights are inter-dependent − right to land enables women
to exercise other rights and vice-versa
 Meeting women’s strategic gender needs and balancing
unequal gender relations is crucial
 Women’s rights to land enables them to assert other non
material rights (e.g. political participation)

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