Securing community land rights help maintain healthier forests and lower CO2 emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Community land lies at the heart of rural life in Africa, so losing community rights to land can undermine livelihoods and trigger conflict. Most governments recognize customary tenure arrangements that establish communities' rights to land and natural resources, but few governments have the strong legislation needed to help communities protect the land they depend upon. A new video explains.
A U.N. working group of 70 member states recently adopted a proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. The “post-2015” SDGs will aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 while also supporting inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. While the proposal puts forward a plethora of targets for the international community to pursue between 2015 and 2030, it leaves out a critical component of improving rural livelihoods—securing community land rights.
In an op-ed written for LiveScience, Andrew Steer discusses how strengthening forest rights for indigenous communities can protect forests and combat climate change.
Governments around the world legally recognize at least 513 million hectares of community forests, land held collectively by either rural populations or Indigenous Peoples. This area stores about 37 billion tonnes of carbon—29 times the annual carbon footprint of all the passenger vehicles in the world.
Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change, a new report from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, shows that by protecting and expanding the amount of officially recognized community forests, national governments can meet their climate goals while also improving citizens’ livelihoods.
Learn more about securing community forest rights to combat climate change.
How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change
An analysis of the growing body of evidence linking community forest rights with healthier forests and lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Governments, civil society, and donors are working to strengthen community forest rights in many countries.
Many countries in Africa are rich with trees, wildlife, minerals, and other natural resources. But as new WRI research and an interactive map show, few national laws provide communities with strong, secure rights to the resources on their land.
WRI conducted a systematic review of the national framework laws for five natural resources—water, trees, wildlife, minerals, and petroleum—in 49 sub-Saharan African countries. The results are presented in our new Rights to Resources map.
For more information, please visit Global Forest Watch.
Peter Lee, Executive Director of Global Forest Watch Canada, presents on Global Forest Watch at TEDxNairobi, November 2013.