Dr Ramesh Sharma, general secretary of EKTA Parishad sharing his insights at the WCC Consultation on Land, Water and Food.

Dr Ramesh Sharma, general secretary of EKTA Parishad sharing his insights at the WCC Consultation on Land, Water and Food.


The consultation featured both online and on-site speakers, including Prof. Pedro Arrojo, UN special rapporteur on the Right to Water; Dr Joann Lee, programme officer of the G20 Global Land Initiative for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification; and Sofia Espinosa, UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Land and Water tenure specialist. Onsite speakers included Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, WCC programme director for Public Witness and Diakonia; Dr Ramesh Sharma, general secretary of Ekta Parishad, a mass-based peoples' movement for land rights; and Dr Ana Maria Suarez Franco from Food First Information and Action Network International.

"We are here to understand how land, water, and food are interconnected and to develop integrated strategies for sustainable resource management," said Mtata in his keynote address. "This nexus is crucial for achieving sustainable living for people and the planet, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals."

Mtata also emphasized the role of faith in addressing these issues: "For us as the World Council of Churches, we take the faith-based dimension of this work seriously. While it is important to address land, water, and food issues holistically, it is even more important to use a rights-based approach. Climate change affects all three areas and exacerbates the problems, making our approach even more vital." 

The event highlighted the significant challenges related to land degradation, water scarcity, and food insecurity exacerbated by climate change. Sharma emphasized the importance of a community-centric approach to addressing these issues: "This is not only a focus on providing access to these resources but also ensuring that the management and use of these resources is equitable and sustainable."

Arrojo shared insights on the critical role of aquatic ecosystems and soil fertility in sustaining life and food production. "Preserving the good condition and sustainability of rivers, lakes, wetlands, and aquifers is essential to guarantee the human right to water and food," he noted.

Participants also discussed the necessity of integrating traditional and Indigenous knowledge into modern practices. Espinosa stressed, "We must support communities in sharing their knowledge and experiences, as this is key to developing equitable and sustainable solutions."

The consultation concluded with a call to action for collaborative efforts among faith communities, civil society organizations, and international bodies to implement holistic and rights-based approaches to resource management. Lee stressed, "We can collaborate to highlight the importance of faith institutions and actors in land and ecosystem restoration.” 

Dinesh Suna, coordinator of the WCC Ecumenical Water Network and staff responsible for WCC Working Group on Land, Water, and Food Justice, moderated the session. “The WCC reaffirms its commitment to addressing the intertwined issues of land, water, and food through continued dialogue, policy advocacy, and community engagement,” he said.

Photo gallery of the consultation