Approximately 900 million people – three quarters of the world’s poor – live in rural areas and depend on access to land and other natural resources for their livelihoods. For most of them, insecure access to land is closely linked to poverty.
Since the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development in 1979, calls have repeatedly been made to help the poor gain secure access to land and to resources such as technology, credit, inputs and markets. Processes of agrarian reform have been implemented in many countries: some have succeeded, some have failed. But for millions of poor farmers, secure land access is still far from becoming a reality.
The time has come for a renewed commitment to agrarian reform and rural development, through the identification of new challenges and options for revitalizing rural communities. This is fundamental if we are to achieve the goal of reducing by half the number of poor and hungry people by 2015, as set out by the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is taking the lead in increasing this renewed international commitment by organizing in Porto Alegre, Brazil, from 6 to 10 March 2006, the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development. The meeting will primarily serve to review different experiences of agrarian reform around the world by analysing impacts, processes, mechanisms and the actors involved, in order to develop proposals for future action.
The Conference is organised around a limited number of thematic axes which re-explore the classic issues in land tenure studies in the light of recent evolutions and increased knowledge. Although the final agenda of the Conference is still in the process of being finalized through a participative process, the following relevant themes will be touched by ICARRD:
1. Gender dimension
2. Access to water, land and genetic resources
3. The condition of agricultural wage-workers
4. Family Farms
5. Nomadic and sedentary groups
6. Indigenous people and ethnic minorities
7. The use of ceiling legislation for land holdings
8. Urban and peri-urban land
9. Systems for basic information on land tenure in different countries
10. Environmental rights
11. Relationship between food security and tenure security
12. Territorial development (with special reference to access to land and public-private partnership)
13. The cultural and bio-diversity dimensions of agrarian systems, and
14. The role of the State and the market in agrarian reform.
A round table on “Agrarian Reform, Social Justice and Sustainable Development” will be held contemporaneously and several side events are also in preparation.
a) a lasting Platform of understanding, learning and dialogue on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development supported by an International Observatory Panel, and
b) a range of best policies and practices and lessons learned on Agrarian Reform and rural development to promote priority actions, partnerships and international cooperation.
How to register
Individuals interested in participating in ICARRD should fill in the Registration form and send it to the Conference Secretariat at the following address:
ICARRD-Secretariat c/o FAO, B-511 Viale delle Terme di Caracalla 00100 Rome, Italy Fax: + 39 06 57053250 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that:
• All applications should be sent together with a digitalized picture - size 3x4 cm (the pictures can be send as a separate electronic file together with the registration form).
• You may need a visa to get in Brazil. For Visa information, please see the attached Registration form. • If you bring electronic equipments, you have to fill the “Customs Declaration for Temporary Admission of Equipment” and send it together with the registration form.
• If you are a journalist, you must accompany your registration form with a Letter of Assignment on official letterhead from the Editor or Bureau Chief of a recognized media organization, and send a copy of the email to Agnes.Zoller@fao.org. Tel: (+39) 06 57054327.
• The deadline for sending the registration form is 28 February 2006.
• The deadline for receipt of hotel reservations is also 28 February 2006.
• The Conference is open to qualified participants, subject to availability of space, to be determined on the spot, for security reasons. The Secretariat has sent a general invitation but participation to the Conference is subject to a letter of endorsement of the participant by credible institutions (university or academic institutions, NGO, national and international institutions)and the obtaining of a visa from the Brazilian Government (Secretariat of ICARRD is not in a position to facilitate visa obtention and no funding is available for participation).