Support Farmers in ASEAN:
Meet with Ohnmar Khaing, Coordinator, Food Security Working Group and speaker at Women's Forum Myanmar ASEAN 2014
What is being done to support farmers and others dependent on natural resources in Myanmar or across the ASEAN region?
The success and sustainability of effective initiatives in natural resource management is crucial for pro- poor growth in Myanmar and across ASEAN. Basically, civil society organizations are helping empowerment process for farmers and other dependent including women where they face pressing challenges to their livelihoods by supporting poor people’s rights and access to natural resources; supporting participatory and accountable knowledge and advisory processes; enhancing the participation of poor rural producers in agricultural and related markets; supporting poor rural people’s participation in policy and governance processes.
In Myanmar, in terms of capacity development and knowledge sharing, the national based NGO network, Food Security Working Group (FSWG) is conducting the natural resource management trainings for NGO staff, Government extension staff and CSOs to secure their natural resource rights, to participatory design and implementation of state policies and initiatives on natural resource governance; and, promoting inclusive and effective local natural resource management institutions. Link to evidence based research, FSWG is carrying the research on “understanding Women’s Issues in achieving food security and natural resource management” while Land Core Group is carrying land rights and gender that will support its policy advocacy activities on land rights and natural resource governance.
Myanmar Platform for Dialogue on Green Growth is facilitating the dialogue on investing in natural capital and resource efficiency in a sustainable manner where Government Departments, NGOs, CSOs and Business sectors participated. In addition, CSOs in Myanmar provide regular inputs to journalist. Coverage in the media helps to put pressure on decision makers, directly as well indirectly, because it also supports the shaping of natural resource and environmental conservation public opinion particularly to benefit small farmers and women.
As a part of regional policy advocacy process, CSOs across ASEAN are carrying on awareness raising, campaigning to ratify and implement international provisions pertaining to natural resource management and agriculture, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which provides for the right to adequate food and to a decent living, which in the case of small-scale farmers includes the right to seeds and land. FSWG hosted regional civil society dialogue to Improve food security, agriculture and rural development policies in South East Asia. The forum recommend ASEAN member states to recognize, secure and protect the legitimate rights of small holder farmers and peoples directly dependent on natural resources to have secure access and control over their land and natural resources. ASEAN member states to ensure a safe environment so that smallholder farmers and civil society organizations are able to organize and participate in land and natural resource governance at both the national and ASEAN level. CSOs requesting ASEAN states to utilize international legal instruments such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, ILO 169 and UNDRIP to engage in national and ASEAN consultative processes with CSOs and rural communities with the aim of strengthening national land and natural resource management laws and administration mechanisms to be in line with Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT) as the basis of all consultations over land and natural resources.