2013 saw a lot of serious progress in forest tenure reform: legal judgments that upheld the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities; successful local movements that brought the land crisis to the top of political agendas; and unprecedented commitments to land rights by leading companies and governments.
Unfortunately, our new research shows that this progress is merely a bright spot in the longer term slowdown in the rate of recognition of forest tenure rights in low and middle income countries over the last six years.
When we look back at 2013, we have reason to be proud of the progress we made toward our goals, as well as the strategic opportunities that have emerged for the year ahead. But even with last year's progress, there is still much left to be done before on-the-ground change can be realized for forest peoples.
Looking ahead to 2014, we see critical opportunities to build off last year's success in Africa, Asia and Latin America as well as in the international arena with the upcoming UNFCCC CoP, the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, and the World Parks Congress. 2014 will also be the year when the G8 commitments and the Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests begin to roll out, and both REDD and FLEGT projects get more committed to land tenure and governance issues. We also look forward to commitments by key international companies and institutional investors in respecting land rights.
As our work continues to gain in traction and momentum, we look to an ambitious and exciting year ahead.