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International Land Coalition Assembly of Members - Welcome address by IFAD President, Gilbert F. Houngbo

18 November 2021

On behalf of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all members – and partners – of the International Land Coalition to this 9th Assembly of Members.

As one of the ILC’s founding members, IFAD is delighted to have seen the ILC evolve into the leading global network on land rights.

Today, it embraces 300 organisations across the world, many of which are people’s organisations.  In fact, the ILC brings together more than 70 million farmers, indigenous peoples, women, pastoralists, and youth.

These are the people for whom we work. And let me say clearly, their voices must guide our efforts.

Rural transformation needs to be fair, sustainable, and equitable. This is only possible when there are secure land rights for the people who live off and from the land.  This is what we, as ILC members, call “people-centred land governance”.

I applaud the ILC for the focus of its new mission – Shifting power to the women, men and communities who live on and from the land.

Land connects everything. Land rights are central to overcoming inequality; to resilient food systems; and to democratic decision-making.  Territorial rights for indigenous peoples are central -- a message I heard strongly last week at COP26.

Thanks to the perseverance of ILC members, land rights are on the global development agenda – but changing the status quo on land governance won’t happen overnight. It is a long-term and complex process.

I congratulate the ILC on its results over the past three years – including the reform of 77 land-related policies and 115 examples of improved implementation of these policies.

These tangible results are why we continue to strongly support the ILC, as an innovative partnership that crosses the multilateral/civil society divide. Diversity is the ILC’s greatest strength.

I was pleased when IFAD’s Board last year supported a 10-year hosting agreement with the ILC Council. This will bring us even closer together – allowing us to:

Firstly, enhance impact on land governance at the country level in IFAD’s programmes.

Secondly, to keep land governance in the spotlight at the international policy level, such as at the UN Food Systems Summit and the Generation Equality Forum.

And thirdly, to build better data on land.

In a minute you will hear from Jean-Philippe Audinet who represents IFAD as the co-chair of the ILC Council. 

Before I hand the floor over, as IFAD’s President, I would like to re-iterate IFAD’s commitment and support to the ILC.

I wish you a productive and engaging meeting.