On March 18-21, RRI, the International Land Coalition, and Oxfam International convened a meeting on Securing Community Land Rights by at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center in Bellagio, Italy.  Participants from RRI Partners were Vicky Tauli Corpuz, Samuel Nguiffo, Ghan Shyam Pandey, and Thomas Stadtmüller, along with Fellow Liz Alden Wily, Jeff Hatcher and Andy White.  Other participants included individuals from WRI, Namati, IUCN, and Tony LaViña, of the Ateno School of Government, among others.  There were four RRI Board members present.

The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibility of enhancing collaboration and accelerating global and national actions to support community land rights. Participants discussed program areas where there was value in greater collaboration and scaling-up effort, such as in the mapping of Indigenous Peoples' and community lands and resources, as well as providing more support to legal recognition.

At the conclusion of the meeting, participants agreed to work towards the creation of an informal alliance to secure community land rights – meaning that all the participants are now engaged in discussion within their respective organizations to explore the possibility of pursuing greater collaboration to raise awareness and commitment around the world a reality. The below statement outlines the commitment and shared understanding of the participating organizations. Download the PDF.

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Global Strategies for Strengthening Community Land Rights

Bellagio Center, Italy

19-21 March 2013

In recognition of the growing threat to local peoples, the ecosystems they manage, and their social and economic development posed by fast accelerating large-scale land acquisitions and industrial investments, environmental degradation and persistent land tenure insecurity, participants representing a diverse group of development, conservation and human rights organizations and networks supporting the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities met in Bellagio, Italy on 19-21 March 2013 to:

1.    Develop a common framework to generate enhanced and accelerated global and national actions to support community land rights; and

2.    Identify opportunities for greater coordination and collaboration amongst leading civil society organizations and networks to secure community land rights.


As participants at the meeting on Strengthening Community Land Rights held in Bellagio, Italy on 19-21 March 2013, convened by Rights and Resources Initiative, International Land Coalition Secretariat and Oxfam International, we believe that the unprecedented threats to the tenure security of millions of the world’s poor, concurrent with a growing awareness of the importance of land rights to development, food security, environmental stewardship, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and other global challenges make this an important moment to give much greater global attention to secure community rights to land and natural resources.

Conscious that securing tenure rights of rural communities and Indigenous Peoples over their lands and natural resources is critical for poverty alleviation, dignified lives, cultural survival, social cohesion, and ecosystem sustainability, we agreed to:


1.    Work toward the establishment of a broad-based global partnership to better support the efforts of rural communities to have their land and natural resource rights recognized, respected and protected;

2.    Undertake collaborative actions to more effectively support national and local efforts to strengthen community land security;

3.    Work jointly at the global level to promote greater attention to community land rights security in multilateral processes and donor priorities;

4.    Establish measurable targets to monitor global progress on community land rights security, and improve our systems for collecting relevant data;

5.    Work within our respective organizations to engage in global, national and local action to support this emerging set of goals and new collaborations;

6.    Call on other organizations from government, non-governmental, community, and private sectors to strengthen their engagement in such actions and to support this effort; and

7.    Reconvene on 17 September 2013 in Switzerland immediately prior to the International Conference on Scaling-Up Global Efforts to Secure Community Land and Resource Rights (18-20 September 2013) with a wider array of organizations to broaden the emerging partnerships and determine their future.


We are thankful to the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center for hosting and supporting this meeting, and to the convening organizations for the opportunity to support rural communities’ efforts to ensure their land and resources rights are respected.


The participants,

Andy White

Coordinator, Rights and Resources Initiative

Jeffrey Hatcher

Director of Global Programs, Rights and Resources Initiative

Duncan Pruett

Land Policy Advisor, Oxfam International

Michael Taylor

Global Policy Programme Manager, International Land Coalition Secretariat

Gonzalo Oviedo

Senior Advisor for Social Policy, IUCN

Tony La Viña

Dean, Ateneo School of Government

Ruth Meinzen-Dick

Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute

Peter Veit

Acting Director, Institutions and Governance Program, World Resources Institute

Richard Chase Smith

Executive Director, Instituto del Bien Común, Perú

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz

Executive Director, TEBTEBBA (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), Philippines

Fred Nelson

Executive Director, Maliasili Initiatives

Michael Ochieng Odhiambo

Director, People, Land and Rural Development, Kenya

Liz Alden Wily

Independent Land Tenure Expert, Kenya and Fellow, Rights and Resources Initiative

Rachael Knight

Director, Community Land Protection Program, Namati

Darío Fajardo

Director, Instituto Amazónico de Investigaciones Científicas Sinchi, Colombia

Ghan Shyam Pandey

Coordinator, Global Alliance of Community Forestry, Nepal

Samuel Nguiffo

Secretary General, Center for Environment and Development, Cameroon

Thomas Stadtmüller

Senior Advisor in Sustainable Land Management, HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation