Indigenous peoples and other local communities play a vital role when it comes to mitigating the impact of climate change. But despite inhabiting 50 per cent of the world’s land, these communities legally own just 10 per cent of it. As a result, civil society groups are calling on governments around the world to scale up the protection of customary land rights.
The lands managed by community groups serve as important carbon sinks by allowing standing forests to work as reservoirs, absorbing CO2 and preventing its harmful emission into the atmosphere. In fact, collectively, the world’s forests store more carbon than is currently present in the atmosphere. If indigenous communities are not given legal recognition and government protection, and the current rate of deforestation continues unabated, these forests are likely to become a dangerous source of CO2 emissions….