NGO Documents for the UN
Commission on Sustainable Development 8th Session, 2000
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Documents for CSD ]
HUMAN SETTLEMENTS CAUCUS CSD-8, 1 MAY 2000:
THE PRESENT SITUATION OF LAND TENURE
A vast number of the poor, indigenous people, and
pastoral- nomadic people live in uncertainty and anger over the fact that
they have no secure land tenure or adequate shelter. "Security of
tenure and elimination of violent forced evictions have been identified as
key elements for reducing poverty. Secure tenure improves access of the
poor, especially women, to affordable shelter, access to basic services,
as well as to informal and formal employment opportunities and direct
political representation" (PrepCom for the Habitat Agenda, Nairobi,
8-12 May, 2000).
DIFFERENT TYPES OF LAND TENURE
We ask that there be a thorough discussion of the
various types of land tenure, referred to in paragraph 10 of
E/CN.17/2000/11 (Report of the Inter-sessional Ad Hoc Working Group on
Integrated Planning and Management of Land Resources; and on Agriculture).
We especially ask that the phrase "according to their respective
culture and traditions" be preserved in the text, and that there be
an explanation of different types of land tenure, that is, private
ownership brought to many countries by colonial powers, public ownership,
community and traditional types of ownership. There must be appropriate
legislation for land tenure enacted so that the poor, the indigenous and
the pastoral-nomadic people will have long-term security .'
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND LAND TENURE
We think this issue is critical to bring about
sustainable development and the real peace wanted by all citizens, because
there has been a tendency for certain elites to grab huge tracts of the
best farming land. Thus, there may be the need for redistribution of land
and land reform so that there will be a sense of tranquility and
confidence in the government. However, we want to protect the right to
traditional ownership of land of indigenous peoples. Furthermore, we ask
that there be enabling legislation passed so that the poor and
marginalized peoples can organize themselves without interference or fear
to demand their rights. Recent UN statements have emphasized that there
will never be an eradication of poverty without the poor being empowered,
which means that they must know their rights and be organized to able to
demand their rights.
The definition of poverty needs to be reviewed and
rephrased so as not to include any value judgments. Let us not define
poverty in a far flung rainforest in comparison with 'poverty' in rich
countries. Is 'poverty' to refer only to material or spiritual poverty?
Perhaps the definition needs area specificity.