Between 13-15 September, 2017, the Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users (KAFLU) hosted the Asian Land Forum and the Asian Regional Assembly in Issyk-Kul. The Forum invited representatives of 11 Asian countries (India, Mongolia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Philippines, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan), more than 100 delegates of organisations of the International Land Coalition (ILC), a global alliance of civil society, farmer organisations, UN agencies, NGO, and research institutes established in 1995. The mission of the ILC is to “place the people (women, men, young people, and indigenous communities of both current and future generations) at the centre of decision-making, including about their food systems” through protection, dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
At the forum we were honoured to host members of Supreme Council of Kyrgyzstan, representatives of the Government and state structures of Kyrgyzstan, and representatives of scientific institutions, non-governmental and farmer organizations of Kyrgyzstan, such as the National Association of Pasture Users, t the Association of Water Users, the Federation of Organic Movement, such as BIO-KG, other local organisations, such as ADI, CAMPAlato, etc., as well as representatives of international development partners, such as FAO, KOICA, JICA, the World Bank, and IFAD. Representatives of the ILC Secretariat of Rome were also present.
The Regional Land Forum of the ILC provides an opportunity once a year worldwide to bring together the most prominent organisations in the region, including local and international NGOs, researchers, multilateral organizations. The ILC regional assemblies serve as the main decision-making platform for consolidating and approving priorities, initiatives and events for the participation of the ILC on the regional, state and local levels. It is also an opportunity for these organisations to hold talks with government agencies about the work being done in each country and share the best practices.
This year the Asian Land Forum and the Asian Regional Assembly of ILC hosted for the first time in Kyrgyzstan was organized by KAFLU with the support of the ILC with the presence of 4 organizations which represent the Kyrgyz sector of ILC: Rural Development Fund, the Association of Water Users, the Association of Forest and Land Users of Kyrgyzstan, and the National Association of Pasture users. During the first two days, the participants of the assembly listened to reports on the work performed in each country, discussed in small groups, and concluded the discussions by summarizing the results and considering the plans for implementation for the next year and three years. We also discussed the results and objectives of implementing initiatives of local communities in Asia, including land reform and existing problems in the field of land policy in Central Asia and Asia as a whole. The forum also provided an opportunity for participants to exchange ideas on the best existing practices and on strengthening cooperation among the members of the ILC in Asia.
On the third day, the delegates of the ILC went on a field tour in the Issyk-Kul region and visited sites engaged in advanced farming practices, sustainable pasture management, and horticulture development, as well as Kyungay Ala-Too mountain forests to observe the sustainable forest management practices.
At the end of the Assembly, we issued a declaration, and an appeal to the governments, on improving land management and enhancing the communal land rights to improve the living conditions of local communities and pasture users.