By Alain Frechette, Director of Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement, RRI

We have received a lot of dire news about the climate. Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned us that we have 12 years to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Scientists are now warning that the policy infrastructure to bring us in line with these goals must be in place by 2020—at a point when all too many world leaders seem unwilling to take action.

Today’s IPCC report is a critical reminder from the world’s top scientists that there is already an effective solution to this crisis in place: recognizing the rights of the Indigenous Peoples and local communities who have cared for the world’s forests for generations. For the first time, the IPCC report references the crucial role that the world’s Indigenous Peoples and local communities play in preserving ecosystems and preventing deforestation—both vital to the global struggle to combat climate change.

We have seen the evidence of this mounting for years—and the policy community can no longer afford to delay action on recognizing community land rights to secure our collective future.

In response to the report, indigenous and community organizations and networks—representing 42 countries spanning 1.6 billion hectares of forest, including 76 percent of the world’s tropical forest—issued a statement. Their statement highlights the science that supports what they have always known and concludes with concrete recommendations to policy makers.

Read the full response and learn more at

About the author: Alain Frechette, PhD, is the Director of Strategic Analysis and Global Engagement at RRI. He has over 25 of experience in natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and climate change—focusing on international development for the better part of the last two decades. Alain began his career with state and provincial forest and protected area agencies in the United States and Canada before pursuing strategic consultancies with multilateral organizations, development agencies, and NGOs such as IUCN, DFID, the World Bank, and various UN institutions across Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.