FES wins land for life award 2013
The Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) was awarded the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) instituted Land for Life Award 2013 for its work on assisting village communities in sustainable management of common lands in India.
Among 137 applicants from 62 countries, the FES was chosen for the award by a renowned panel of jurists from across the globe.
The FES was unanimously chosen as the winner because of its efforts in empowering communities to take ownership of their local land, mobilising communities at a large scale and in influencing policy.
The award would be handed over during the meeting of the Conference of Parties 11 at Namibia in September.
In India more than 90 per cent of the rural population is dependent on community lands for their survival. However these lands, mistakenly categorised as “wastelands”, are shrinking at an alarming rate of 1.5 – 2.7 per cent due to lack of proper tenure and appropriate village institutional arrangements.
In this scenario, the FES is engaged in assisting more than 5,000 villages across seven states of India and in restoring over half a million acres of common land.
The FES aims to improve the recognition of such “wastelands” as community lands or village commons and help village communities gain secure access to MGNREGA funds and draw benefits from the restored lands. The FES has rich experience in restoring degraded landscapes, locating common lands in the larger farming systems, building community institutions for natural resource management at habitation and inter habitation levels, promoting livelihood activities that lead to improved income levels.