The Asian Regional Civil Society Consultation provided an opportunity for different
constituencies to contribute in the FAO’s process of coming up with Voluntary Guidelines
that provides a framework for governments and other interest groups on responsible land
and resource governance. The consultation was aimed to identify and make an inventory of
key problems around land and natural resource tenure in Asia; to propose solutions to these
problems; and to provide recommendations for the Voluntary Guidelines.
Synthesis of Testimonies
Land and resource tenure conflicts are largely felt in developing countries, particularly in
Asia, where marginalised sectors are greatly impacted. The regional consultation brought
together various perspectives from different constituencies – from indigenous peoples,
agricultural workers, peasants, pastoralists, fisherfolk, Dalits, rural women to urban
dwellers. Representatives from these sectors shared the struggles, strategies and the
challenges that they continue to face.
While the struggles of communities are diverse, the experiences, resistance, and demands
have common threads of lack of control, access and tenurial insecurities on land and natural
resources. A key and common issue among the sectors is the non-recognition by
governments of their rights to own, access, and control land, territories, and resources. This
is manifested in the policy and legal framework covering tenure of land and other natural
resources where there is inadequate and even absence of laws that protect the rights of
communities. In some cases, there is a pluralistic legal system that creates conflict on
existing laws between traditional legal systems and special courts, at the expense of
marginalised groups. Governments or states also often lack the political will and
commitment to address the issues through lack of participatory mechanisms and even the
non-implementation and violation of existing laws.