Conference background and objectives

In a world of contrasts – growing interdependence side by side with growing inequalities between and within countries – this Conference seeks to explore the ways that non- violent grassroots mobilization is defending rights, promoting social justice and providing a viable route to sustainable development.

Even economies which are benefiting from globalization and have growing industrial and high-tech sectors also have significant rural populations who rely for their basic livelihood on agriculture and the resources of the land. Poverty and discrimination are persistent, especially for the landless and for indigenous groups. Corruption and inequality are a breeding ground for violence by the powerful as well as by some of the radical groups who oppose them.

This Conference is focused on presenting, analysing and building support for non-violent alternative models for democratic policy, economic and social change. It will draw on the experiences of non-violent land rights movements such as Ekta Parishad in India and grassroots movements in other countries of South East Asia, Africa and Latin America.

The Conference objectives are to:

  • examine research and policy as well as evidence from activists on the impact of economic globalization processes, particularly in rural areas of developing and transition countries;
  • support and develop peace-building initiatives and strategies for non-violent social, economic and political change;
  • promote land rights and local community control of natural resources as a route to food security, decent work and sustainable development;
  • identify the gender implications of unequal access to resources and promote the empowerment of women;
  • raise public awareness and gain political, institutional and financial support for the Right to Land agenda with specific reference to Jan Satyagraha – March for Justice 2012, organized by Ekta Parishad.

The Conference will invite participation from:

  • international and national NGOs and activists organisations working on land rights, food security, livelihoods support, and development; * United Nations organizations and Geneva-based missions to the UN; * parliaments and development ministries;
  • research institutions;
  • the national and international media