The CIVICUS Innovation Awards is celebrating its 10th year of awarding civil society activists and organisations for their excellence, innovation, and brave risk-taking.

For the first time ever, we are opening nominations to everyone. You can nominate a youth leader, individual activist or civil society organisation that has inspired you through their creative use of campaigning to empower citizen action and people power.

Is there an activist in your community that everyone should know about? Do you have a friend, coworker, or neighbor doing amazing work?

We want to celebrate them! Submit your nominations today and tell us who you think should receive the CIVICUS Innovation Award.

The award winners will receive a fully funded trip to attend International Civil Society Week 2014 [civicus.org/icsw] in Johannesburg, South Africa in November and their commitment will be recognised at the CIVICUS Innovation Awards ceremony.

To provide the required information to nominate an individual activist, youth leader or civil society organisation that has inspired you! please follow-up here: http://www.civicus.org/awards/#/home

Source: FAO , ESA Working Paper No. 14-02, April 2014


The agricultural economics literature provides various estimates of the number of farms and small farms in the world. This paper is an effort to provide a more complete and up to date as well as carefully documented estimate of the total number of farms in the world, as well as by region and level of income. It uses data from numerous rounds of the World Census of Agriculture, the only dataset available which allows the user to gain a complete picture of the total number of farms globally and at the country level. The paper provides estimates of the number of family farms, the number of farms by size as well as the distibution of farmland by farm size. These estimates find that: there are at least 570 million farms worldwide, of which more than 500 million can be considered family farms. Most of the world’s farms are very small, with more than 475 million farms being less than 2 hectares in size. Although the vast majority of the world’s farms are smaller than 2 hectares, they operate only a small share of the world’s farmland. Farmland distribution would seem quite unequal at the global level, but it is less so in low- and lower-middle-income countries as well as in some regional groups. These estimates have serious limitations and the collection of more up-to-date agricultural census data, including data on farmland distribution is essential to our having a more representative picture of the number of farms, the number of family farms and farm size as well as farmland distribution worldwide.”

Download paper here  (.pdf, 560KB)

farm size

Source: Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

A new statement provided to the World Bank highlights the serious concerns indigenous peoples have regarding the World Bank’s proposed (leaked) new standards for projects impacting on indigenous peoples, and specifically a shocking new ‘opt-out’ clause.

World Bank moves to undermine the rights of indigenous peoples

(Bangkok, London, Tuesday 29 July 2014)

In an unprecedented move, the World Bank will be proposing that governments could ‘opt-out’ of requirements designed to protect indigenous peoples from unintended and negative consequences from development activities funded by the multilateral lender. In a leaked draft of new environmental and social standards to be considered for public consultation by a committee of the World Bank Executive Board on 30th of July, language has been included that would allow governments to disregard their existing obligations to indigenous peoples.

When the Bank announced it would be revising these standards (previously contained in an ad hoc set of eight separate policies) Bank management committed to ‘no dilution’ of existing standards. This commitment has been repeated often over the past three years.

However, proposing that governments can ignore international standards on protection of indigenous peoples, and ignore the human rights that underpin those protections, is with out doubt a significant and serious watering down of existing standards.

Joan Carling, Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact,  noted “it is with deep disappointment and frustration that the World Bank chooses to further discriminate and marginalize indigenous peoples, instead of rectifying its bad legacy with indigenous peoples. Even with the inclusion of the provision for the free prior and informed consent, or FPIC, of indigenous peoples, this is meaningless with the ‘opt-out option’ for borrowers, of which many Asian governments would do as they refuse to legally recognize indigenous peoples in their respective countries.  The legal recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples over their lands, territories and resources is not also fully supported, which is a critical element for the protection of indigenous peoples in any development intervention.”

A dangerous aspect of the Bank’s proposal is the precedent it could set for other multilateral finance institutions. The Bank has historically been a leader in developing progressively stronger environmental and social protections, but this latest draft undermines that reputation significantly.

Joji Cariño, Director of the Forest Peoples Programme, commented “Indigenous peoples’ recommendations on the need to strengthen World Bank standards and bring them into line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have fallen on deaf ears. World Bank pledges on ‘no-dilution’ of existing policies are being broken with this proposed opt-out, despite advances made in other substantive areas of the new proposals.”

The real threat if the proposed policies are adopted is the practical and immediate impact that these retrograde standards could have for indigenous peoples living in countries where governments routinely deny them their rights. For many indigenous peoples in Africa and elsewhere, national and regional law is just now beginning to recognise and protect their lands and their livelihoods by applying the laws developed over decades of advocacy.

Indigenous peoples are mobilizing worldwide to demand that the World Bank withdraw the offensive policy proposals. They are calling on the Bank to ensure that the policy revision results in standards that are fully in line with international norms and obligations on the rights of indigenous peoples. At the same time, they are pressing the World Bank President to uphold his promise to prevent any dilution of existing standards.

A statement of concern detailing recommendations for action by the World Bank’s Executive Board has been presented to the World Bank today (July 29, 2014) and endorsed by 84 indigenous peoples’ organizations and institutions, 59 support groups and 20 individuals.”

For further information on these proposed safeguard standards for indigenous peoples please contact:

Joan Carling, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, joan@aippnet.org

Robie Halip, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, robie@aippnet.org

Helen Tugendhat, Forest Peoples Programme, helen@forestpeoples.org

Press and media enquiries:

James Harvey, Communications Manager, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)

Email: james@forestpeoples.org

Contact number: +44(0)1608 652893

Aung Kyaw Soe, Communications and Development Programme Coordinator, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Email: khunaung@aippnet.org

Contact number: +66 53 380 168

Additional information:

Forest Peoples Programme’s dedicated World Bank Safeguards page:


AIPP Briefing Paper, “Development for Whom”: http://www.aippnet.org/index.php/publication-sp-2697/human-rights/1418-briefing-paper-development-for-whom

AIPP Submissions to the World Bank:


Source: Fairfood International

feature docu-1

The Land of Promise campaign has launched its’ documentary ‘The Land of Promise?’, in which we highlight the issues in the Philippine pineapple industry through the stories of locals.

In ‘The Land of Promise?’, Fairfood visits inhabitants from the island, accompanied by a local social worker. These locals have been moved off their land and fired from their jobs on the pineapple plantations. They have lived in poverty ever since.”

Watch the documentary below:

Source: Global Soil Week

Deadline: 28 September 2014

Header GSW2015


2015 is an important year for the future of sustainable development!

Several initiatives and political processes related to soils and land will converge in 2015. The negotiations for the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be in full swing. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2015 the International Year of Soils. And the United Nations Climate Change Conference will work towards achieving a global agreement on climate. All of these events are a special opportunity to raise awareness about the important role of soils and land for sustainable development. The 3rd Global Soil Week 2015 invites all stakeholders to join forces to encourage sustainable soil management and responsible land governance at global, regional and local level.

Follow this link to submit your contributions form and help to put soils and land on the new sustainable development agenda!


We invite you to share your story, your experience, research and your feelings about sustainable soil management and responsible land governance. Please find attached to this e-mail the full Call for Contributions as well as the contribution form as pdf and word Document. Please visit our website (http://globalsoilweek.org/gsw2015_call/) to register and submit your contributions form.

The call for proposals is open until 28 September 2014. General registration will be announced later on our website: globalsoilweek.org


What is the Global Soil Week?

After the success of the first Global Soil Week in 2012, the second Global Soil Week in 2013 again attracted over 450 participants from 71 countries. The Global Soil Week serves as a multi-stakeholder platform to promote sustainable development in the areas of sustainable soil management and responsible land governance. Policy-makers, scientists from different disciplines, stakeholders from civil society organisations, students, farmers, artists, as well as stakeholders from international organizations and industry came together and created a unique atmosphere for finding strategies to ensure the sustainable management of our soils and land.

The Global Soil Week now invites you to come together once again and help to put soils and land on the global sustainable development agenda. We encourage contributions from non-Academic backgrounds.

Please circulate the call for contributions!

We look forward to receiving your proposals and collaborating with you at the Global Soil Week 2015!

The Global Soil Forum team

Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies



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ILC Publication, 2012 DOWNLOAD:  HumanRightsDefendersInfoNote.pdf

Human Rights Defender (HRD) is the term used to describe someone who, individually or with others, acts to promote and protect human rights. Although the work of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) emanates directly from international human rights instruments, the first step to formally recognise the “defence” of human rights as a right in itself was given by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1998, through the adoption of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (known as the ‘Declaration on Human Rights Defenders’). This Declaration contains several norms enshrined in legally binding treaties, including the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR, 1976).

HRDs are a highly heterogeneous group. According to Hina Jilani, former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, HRDs working on land rights and natural resources are “the second most vulnerable group when it comes to danger of being killed because of their activities in the defence of human rights” (A/HRC/4/37). The relevance of this group is confirmed by the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, who in 2011 devoted a report to them on the basis of 106 cases of alleged violations acted upon by her mandate between 2006 and 2011 (A/HRC/19/55).

The role played by HRDs in land governance is affirmed in the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, which affirm that ““[…] States should respect and protect the civil and political rights of defenders of human rights, including the human rights of peasants, indigenous peoples, fishers, pastoralists and rural workers, and should observe their human rights obligations when dealing with individuals and associations acting in defence of land, fisheries and forests (VGGT, 4.8).”

The International Land Coalition (ILC) frequently receives requests of solidarity from members in Asia, Africa and Latin America for or on behalf of HRDs working on land rights, especially activists. This infonote is meant to support their invaluable work with information on international protection mechanisms and organisations addressing human rights violations related to land.



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