Nitin Pandit, CEO of WRI India, explains how limiting urban sprawl, investing in natural infrastructure and scaling up clean energy can create a better future for India.
Decision-makers oftentimes treat the services that ecosystems provide—like water filtration or flood protection—as a free benefit. A new issue brief can help them account for nature's full worth.
Snow-capped mountain ranges no longer have snow. Citizens fear they'll lose access to water. And farmers continue to draw scarce groundwater.
So what can California do to shore up its dwindling water supply?
In much of Africa, rural farmers and communities are losing their land to government, investors and others. It's creating profound impacts on local livelihoods and the environment.
Local communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America can lose access to critical resources when land rights are weak, threatening food and incomes for more than two billion people. Three fundamental goals must be achieved to improve land rights.
Alda Salomao is the director general of Centro Terra Viva, an organization working to secure community land rights in Mozambique. In an interview with WRI's Celine Salcedo-La Viña, she describes the tension between communities in the Afungi Peninsula and a natural gas project.
According to data from Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks tree cover loss and gain in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000. That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.
The “resource curse" describes the paradox where countries rich in oil, gas, and minerals remain largely impoverished. Better transparency—both in how governments spend extractive revenues and how natural resource decisions are made—could help tackle this problem. While some new initiatives are making progress on this front, more needs to be done to ensure that drilling and mining doesn’t come at the expense of communities and the land, water, and wildlife they rely on.
The Rights to Resources interactive map presents information on citizen and community rights to natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa.
In much of Africa, the bundle of land rights that most rural people legally hold is relatively small—usually limited to surface rights and certain rights to some natural resources on and below the surface, such as rights to water for domestic use. Many high-value natural resources—such as oil, natural gas, minerals, and wildlife—are governed by separate legal regimes and administered by different public institutions. Africa’s governments often allocate these rights to outside, commonly foreign companies for large-scale operations. In other words, while many communities hold rights to the land, foreign companies hold the rights to the natural resources on or under the same plot. These overlapping rights oftentimes lead to conflict, unsustainable use of resources, and injustices.