The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) is a global Coalition of more than 200 organizations dedicated to advancing the forestland and resource rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and rural women. RRI fosters the creation and implementation of innovative solutions to land tenure security to advance three global goals:
- Substantially increase the forest area under local ownership and administration.
- Prevent all changes to national laws and regulations that weaken the customary and statutory land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and simultaneously promote new laws that strengthen customary and statutory rights.
- Dramatically reduce poverty in the forested areas of the world.
In 2015, RRI set two new targets for 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. RRI continues to track progress against these new targets:
- At least 50% of the total forests in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) recognized as owned by or designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities by 2030;
- Indigenous Peoples and local communities in lower- and middle-income countries have recognized rights to manage, conserve, use, and trade forest products and services in 100% of the land under their ownership or designated for their use.
In 2018, the newest analysis in RRI’s signature tenure-tracking series, At A Crossroads: Key Trends and Opportunities in Community-based Forest Tenure Reform—which covers 92% of the world’s forests—found that the amount of forestland legally owned and managed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities in LMICs has grown by nearly 40% since 2002, to 15% of all forests. Over 98% of these gains occurred in LMICs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America; communities now have rights to 28.1% of forests in LMICs.
If just four countries implemented existing laws, the world could double the gains made in the past 15 years, and much more could be achieved if other countries followed their lead, dramatically scaling up tenure security for millions of forest people.
Instruments for Scaling Up Action
A new platform of instruments catalyzed by RRI is already scaling up effort by mobilizing action to address critical threats and opportunities, making community lands more visible, generating more political will, catalyzing private sector action, and providing funding directly to communities for implementing reforms. By leveraging these new instruments and improving coordination across all new initiatives, we can ensure a rights-based approach to conservation, restoration, and development across the world.