Access to and Control over Natural and Productive Resources

To ensure access and control over resources such as labour, land, water and forest, FIAN Nepal will have a clear stance against land and water grabbing, support sustainable farming and right based tenure systems. FIAN Nepal will also document and campaign on cases of forced evictions, land grabbing, agro fuel expansion, eco-destruction, pollution, agri-inputs while also contribute to the adoption of the FAO RtF guidelines on land and natural resources tenure.

The marginalised and vulnerable groups in the Nepali society – mostly in rural settings – are increasingly losing their already limited access and traditional rights to productive resources. The process of globalisation in Nepal has resulted in further alienation of productive resources from the rural poor and has given birth to various conflicts. Natural resources such as ground water, rivers, and forests are destroyed or privatised leading to the destruction of livelihood for numerous people. A natural productive resource e.g. land is controlled or distributed among few rich people, leaving the rural and poor landless with none or limited resources to produce food, while has limited opportunities from which purchase food. This is increasingly threatening the livelihood of large populations in both rural and urban areas.

Availability and Adequacy of food is insufficient – whether from own (subsistence based) production for the rural small holder “agri-based” communities or inadequate from the government food storage and inequitable distribution mechanism – as to those in need are not being able to access it. Access to food is insufficient, due to lack of physical or economical resources – natural or productive and thereof inputs (e.g. agri-inputs, infrastructure /equipment, markets structure for small holder farmers etc.) and limited opportunities to for labour / employment, as well as services.

The right to food, with dignity includes the right to access and control over land, water and other means of production to produce one’s food alone and in community. Structural discrimination (class, gender, caste, and ethnicity) restricts people’s access to natural resources. Such persistent exclusionary system and practices in Nepal have hence denied access and control over all types of means of production and productive resources-land, forest and water- as well as other livelihood opportunities available in the societies by the poor and marginalised communities resulting into persistent hunger and malnutrition in Nepal.

To strengthen and promote RtF, the state should facilitate, respect and protect the rights of individuals for sustainable, non-discriminatory and secured access and utilization of these resources and public services. States, when required should carry out policy reforms consistent with their human rights obligations and in accordance with the rule of law in order to secure efficient and equitable access to land and to strengthen pro-poor growth, with special attention given to groups such as pastoralists and indigenous people and their relation to natural resources. Vulnerable groups should be facilitated to have access to opportunities and economic resources in order to participate fully and equally in the economy, with particular attention to the specific access problems of women and of vulnerable, marginalized and traditionally disadvantaged groups, including all persons affected by HIV/AIDS. State should promote sustainable small-scale agricultural practices to and safeguard small holder farmers livelihood.

Thus access to productive and natural resources by the vulnerable communities is fundamental for the RtF and key theme of the upcoming phase of the Project. The intention is to protect and promote a sustained access to productive / natural resources for those groups and communities that need these means to realize their RtF. This includes a clear gender perspective and the approach to promote policy and programme for e.g. agricultural practices that safeguards future generations’ RtF and food producing resources. FIAN Nepal considers the following resources and assets as key (taken from FAO RtF Guidelines Nov 2004):

  • Labour: to provide opportunities for work that provides remuneration allowing for an adequate standard of living for rural and urban wage earners and their families, and to promote and protect self-employment.
  • Land & Forest: promote and protect the security of land tenure, especially with respect to women, poor and disadvantaged segments of society, through legislation that protects the full and equal right to own land and other property, including the right to inherit. In context of Nepal many communities are directly or indirectly dependent on forest resources as one of the productive resources. FIAN will therefore promote and protect peoples’ right to access and control over forest to support RtF.
  • Water: access to water in sufficient quantity and quality and promote sustainable use of, water resources and their allocation among users giving due regard to efficiency and the satisfaction of basic human needs in an equitable manner and that balances the requirement of preserving or restoring the functioning of ecosystems with domestic, industrial and agricultural needs, including safeguarding drinking water quality.
  • Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture: consider specific national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms to prevent the erosion and to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including , as appropriate, for the protection of relevant traditional knowledge and equitable participation in sharing benefits arising from the use of these resources, and by encouraging, as appropriate, the participation of local and indigenous communities and farmers in making national decisions on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture.
  • Sustainability: consider specific national policies, legal instruments and supporting mechanisms to protect ecological sustainability and the carrying capacity of ecosystems to ensure the possibility for increased, sustainable food production for present and future generations, prevent water pollution, protect the fertility of the soil, and promote sustainable management of fisheries and forestry.
  • Services: create an enabling environment and strategies to facilitate and support the development of private and public sector initiatives to promote appropriate tools, technologies and mechanization in the provision of relevant services, including research, extension, marketing, rural finance and micro credit, to enable more efficient food production by all farmers, in particular poor farmers, and to address local constraints such as shortage of land, water and farm power.

To ensure access and control to abovementioned resources, FIAN will have a clear stance against land and water grabbing, support sustainable Peasants’ farming and right based land tenure systems, gender and climate justice. FIAN will document and campaign on cases impeding forced evictions, land grabbing, water grabbing, agro fuel expansion, eco-destruction and pollution, paying due attention to the gender dimension, and also contribute to the adoption of the FAO RtF Guidelines on land and natural resources tenure. FIAN Nepal will engage and contribute to the protection of the access to natural resources of the rural poor by demanding effective implementation of existing (policy and programme) instruments.

  • FIAN Nepal will continue to intensively engage in advocating for access to natural resources, keeping gender consideration as a core cross-cutting issue:
  • Advocacy for policies and strategies for access to and control over resources – natural and productive (land and forest resources by landless rural communities – e.g. support the land rights of poor and excluded people)
  • Advocacy and support campaigns against potential threats of land grabbing and agro-fuel expansion;
  • Advocacy to promote agro-ecological and locally based small holder farming against the increasing agro-industrial model that is destructing the environment.
  • Collaborate with to local communities (as part of casework) in their action for right to water, which is integral for the right to food
  • Advocacy for policies and programs that safeguard access to (natural) resources of the vulnerable communities, are for food sovereignty and advocate against corporate control of agricultural resources and markets

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