By: Wremongar Joe
The Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESP) on Tuesday, 28 September 2021 begun a two-day Capacity Building training for civil society actors to enhance advocacy for land and water resources in Liberia.
The Struggles for Land and Water workshop held at a local hotel in Monrovia paves the way for the formation of a national Platform of the Global Convergence for the Struggles of Land and Water in West Africa, which is funded by SOS FAIM, Luxembourg.
Malcolm Joseph—CEMESP’s Executive Director in his remarks said when formed the national platform will mobilize advocacy for equal citizens’ participation regardless of age, sex or ethnicity.
In the workshop, he noted that civil society organizations from across the country will share experiences and design a roadmap through which they can channel constructive, non-partisan advocacies around land and water use in Liberia.
“Today we are anticipating an engaging session, frank opinions as we begin this two days initiative training on water and land,” said Malcolm Joseph.
The workshop is been conducted with technical support from Mr. Abass Kamara, a member of the Regional Coordinating Secretariat (CGLTE) from Sierra Leone.
In remarks, Kamara said the convergence is gradually spreading across Africa with a lot of countries joining the cause for advocating for land and water resources.
Kamara said: “the work the convergence is doing is good for our people and we must help it grow”.
Africans, he believes must engage their locals, civil society, and governments on agricultural practices that do not bring suffering to ordinary people.
“Africans are been treated differently as opposed to how they treat others around the world” he added continuing that “genetically modified seeds produced in labs across the west must not be the new direction for African Agriculture, “we must remain natural and true to our culture.”
The Global convergence Regional Coordinating Secretariat (CGLTE) member promised to help strengthen the Liberian national platform, as according to him, donors of the global convergence have committed that they will not support this year’s caravan if Liberia’s platform was not set up and running.
Several local advocacy groups including farmers and fishermen associations, climate and environment non-for-profits are attending the two days training.
A representative of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) also speaking at the formal opening lauded CEMESP and its partners for initiating the idea of organizing a Liberian National Platform for land and water advocacy.
Atty. Gertrude W. Nyala who is the Technical Manager of the Community Forestry Department at the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) urged proper coordination from line ministries and agencies in order to ensure proper management of land and water resources.
She added that the enactment of the Land Rights Law of 2018 has settled many disputes around land ownership issues across the country, but encouraged CSOs to identify what specific issues in the land the water sectors affect ordinary people.
The Environmental Protection Agency, National Fisheries, and Aquaculture Authority, and other CSOs will also make presentations on Wednesday before the training comes to a close.
Background of Global Convergence
The Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles – West Africa is composed of more than 300 peasant organizations, including farmers, pastoralists, fishers, and forest workers established in October 2014 during the African Social Forum in Dakar, the Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles (Convergence).
It became consolidated in March 2015 at the World Social Forum in Tunis, Tunisia.
The first regional chapter in West Africa was founded in June 2015, during a meeting held at the Nyéléni international training center for agro-ecology in Sélingué (Mali).
The Convergence comprises several social and grassroots movements and various civil society organizations (CSOs), which are engaged in the defense of the rights to land, water, and seeds with a cornerstone declaration entitled “Rights to Water and Land, a Common Struggle.
The Dakar to Tunis Declaration is the pillar of a strong and unified movement that fights for policies that promote human rights, including rights to land and water within the framework of food sovereignty.
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