Indigenous Peoples and other communities rely on their collectively held lands for food, water, livelihoods and well-being. Yet around the world, these groups face barriers to legally registering and titling these lands—and it’s getting worse.
Today is International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples -- a good day to reflect on the achievements and challenges Indigenous Peoples still face, including the issue of legal security of land and natural resource rights. How well do national laws protect the interests of these historically marginalized communities?
Encroaching on Land and Livelihoods examines whether national expropriation laws in 30 countries across Asia and Africa follow the international standards established in Section 16 of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGTs).
Most national governments can legally acquire land for public needs such as roads, schools and other infrastructure, in a process known as expropriation. But in many countries, weak laws allow governments and companies to take land for private interests without adequately compensating and resettling displaced people. Here are six ways to bring those laws up to global standards.
Under international human rights laws, indigenous communities must be able to approve any development project that directly affects their lands or resources. There are a few reasons why this doesn't always happen in practice.
Berta Cáceres famously fought against the Agua Zarca Dam, which would have obstructed the Gualcarque River, a source of food and water for local communities. Her murder is tragic, senseless and unfortunately, indicative of more systemic governance problems.
Ensuring that indigenous and community land rights are respected and protected is important, not only from a human rights perspective, but also as a sound climate mitigation strategy.
Indigenous peoples and communities manage their forests and other ecosystems well if they have secure rights over their land, but getting legal recognition of these rights is often a challenge. LandMark, a new online platform, can help address this challenge.
A broad partnership of indigenous coalitions and land rights and research organizations today launched LandMark, the first online, interactive global platform to map lands collectively held and used by Indigenous Peoples and communities. The platform was created to fill a critical gap in indigenous and community rights and make clear that these lands are not vacant, idle or available to outsiders.
The launch of LandMark, the first online, interactive global platform that provides maps and other information on lands collectively held and used by Indigenous Peoples and communities.
The relatively modest investments needed to secure the forest rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities will generate significant returns—economically, socially and environmentally—according to a working paper, which finds that protecting forest rights in Guatemala and Brazil will avert 5.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Community forests serve as a vital source of livelihood, nutrition and medicine for the world's Indigenous Peoples. New research shows these forests have another advantage: generating billions of dollars in benefits for rural peoples and society.
Evidence is growing that tenure-secure community forests are associated with avoided deforestation and other ecosystem-service benefits. There are also economic and social benefits connected to communal management.
The world’s legally recognized community forests hold about 37 billion tonnes of carbon, about 29 times the annual carbon footprint of all the passenger vehicles in the world.
Learn more about securing community forest rights to combat climate change.
Note: The Executive Summary is also available for download in Bahasa Indonesia, German, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
A conversation with Céline Cousteau.
With large-scale agricultural investments on the rise, the rights of local people must be protected.
Can forest-rich countries learn from the mistakes of extractive projects and avoid unleashing their own resource curse?