SE124 Telling Stories of People-Centered Land Governance to Drive Change: Great storytelling can inspire changes to land policies & normative frameworks and how these link to the sustainable development agenda.


  • George Washington University
  • Planet Forward
  • International Land Coalition (ILC)
  • World Rural Forum
  • IFAD

Stories are a powerful tool to showcase the need of progressive policies and their effective implementation. Often progress of land, ending poverty, and hunger related targets of the 2030 agenda are presented through statistics only focusing on a particular target or a goal itself. But what are the stories behind these statistics, and why do we need to pay attention to them? The session focuses on the need of a people-centered land governance to end hunger and nutritional food insecurity by:

  • presenting stories to showcase what led to effective policymaking (such as the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas) and/or the need of going beyond present policies and/or their implementation to truly leave no one behind
  • identifying some challenges in the stories presented to showcase the need of having a holistic approach toward the progress of the 2030 agenda
  • through stories showcasing why it matters to have a all-inclusive land governance approach to end poverty and hunger

Often interests of vulnerable and marginalized groups are overshadowed by larger narratives and overall statistics, making them the unheard and unspoken outliers. So stories are a powerful tool to bring all relevant stakeholders to one table to find solutions beyond silo approaches.

Key speakers/presenters

  • Frank Sesno – Moderator, Planet Forward, George Washington University
  • Dr. Christophe Golay, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights
  • Laura Lorenzo, World Rural Forum
  • Antonella Cordone, International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Ali Aii Shatu, MBOSCUDA, Cameroon
  • Gam Shimray, Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact
  • Cristina Cambiaghi, International Land Coalition

Main themes/issues discussed

  • The importance of storytelling for policy advocacy: creation and implementation
  • What elements of a story matter in story telling
  • How to get the attention of different audiences in a competitive market
  • How CSOs/activists and other institutions use stories through different media to propel change

Summary of key points

Governments often consider indigenous communities as non-entities and with no recognition for their work and achievements

Conflicts between different communities competing for the same land has to be resolved through consultation with the communities themselves

Success of any policy making hinges upon the involvement of stakeholders who have a direct interest in the issue at focus
The United Nations Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas (UNDROP) has been adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2018. Two of its main provisions - articles 5 and 17 - clearly enshrined peasants' right to land and other natural resources in International Human Rights Law.

Key take away messages

Community engagement is key in every policymaking and implementation. This is more so important when there are cultural aspects involved in relation to land management.

Respect rights of indigenous peoples in every aspects of development processes considering them to be active engaging partners and creating space for their voice. Integrating their knowledge into policymaking and implementation is crucial for success. No one else should speak on their behalf other than the indigenous peoples themselves.

UN Decade of Family Farming can only be successful if farmers at the ground level are delivered with their rights. Community participation in decision making is an important component of this.  

Bring stories from communities to mark the success of land related SDG targets and reflect the reality of indicators  
It is now time for States, UN agencies and other international and regional organizations to implement the UNDROP, and in particular its articles 5 and 17. NGOs and social movements will have a key role to play in this implementation.

CFS 46 Side Event: SE124 Telling Stories of People-Centered Land Governance to Drive Change


The contents of this page is provided by the Side Event organizers and does not reflect the opinion of CFS