Dr. Esther Mwangi, 1965-2019.
Spurred by international policy commitments and growing demand from their constituencies, African land institutions are looking to place community land rights at the center of national development agendas.
The work to address the longstanding issue of insecurity around land does not end with legislation. Liberia’s citizens will not gain from the protections of the LRA without implementation. Nor can the government go it alone: given their proximity to communities, history of advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups, and their familiarity with the government’s platform under the new law, civil society organizations are ideal partners for implementation.
At the most recent Women Deliver conference—the world’s largest gathering on gender equality and the wellbeing of girls and women—experts from across the RRI Coalition had the opportunity to learn from diverse leaders around the world, while also raising awareness of the urgent need to recognize the rights of indigenous, rural, and community women. Here’s what participants said international audiences need to know about the challenges and opportunities facing this unique subset of women.
Not so long ago, these coffee producers in Bengkulu, a province on Sumatra island in Indonesia, were harvesting during the night to avoid being caught by forest rangers. Despite having lived on their lands for generations, the government considered their activities illegal. Now, the local communities proudly cultivate their coffee in the daylight—and preserve the forest at the same time. The government even provides financing to their cooperative. By supporting the community to care for and harvest from the forest, they are both supporting local livelihoods and ensuring the forest is protected.
The newly-launched “Network of African Land Institutions for Community Land Rights” will capitalize on opportunities to scale up recognition of community land rights in Africa…
RRI is thrilled to be participating in the Women Deliver Conference, the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the well-being of girls and women….
At the recent UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, six indigenous activists and leaders from across the world took a moment to speak to the often unrecognized and under-appreciated contributions made by their communities for the betterment of society, and to address some of the most widespread and harmful misconceptions about Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
Recognizing and securing women’s land and resource rights—in law and practice—benefits women, their communities, and their countries. Strong governance rights for women underpin their ability to participate in decision-making affecting their personal agency and economic security, their children’s future, and the future of the planet. Just a handful of stories from the RRI Coalition demonstrate how, across the world, indigenous and rural women are fighting for their land and resource rights, and using their traditional knowledge and leadership to contribute to myriad global development goals.
Cyclone Idai is possibly the worst ever weather disaster to hit the southern hemisphere, and it won’t be the last. If anything, this disaster has brought home the message that disaster preparedness is inadequate. The design and planning of cities and physical infrastructure should be climate-resilient, taking into account the many important ways in which local community rights and capacities, nature, and nature-based solutions contribute to reducing risks and building resilience. This is particularly pressing as climate change heightens the frequency and magnitude of these extreme weather events, exacerbating the vulnerability of millions of Africans.
The Rights and Resources Initiative Coalition mourns the loss of one of our planet’s brightest, most dedicated champions.
“We do not regard this order as pro-conservation. On the contrary, it is a real setback for conservation in India.”
In 2014, President Joko Widodo had secured a voter bloc of 12 million Indigenous Peoples. But five years later, as he is seeking re-election in April’s presidential elections against the same political opponent, Jokowi has failed to secure the endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)—Indonesia’s largest indigenous network—whose voting bloc has doubled in size since 2014.
As world leaders gather in Poland this week to hold a critical dialogue on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the world’s tropical forests ought to take center stage. The ambitious pledge of the Paris Agreement will be virtually unattainable if the world’s remaining tropical forests are not safeguarded.
On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, RRI’s Latin America Program Director reflects on the human rights challenges facing indigenous, Afro-descendant, and peasant communities—and how they and their allies are joining forces to take on these challenges together.
Given that India is the seventh largest country in the world with a population of 1.3 billion people, it is not surprising that land conflicts that affect more remote communities and Indigenous Peoples rarely gain national or international recognition. Land Conflict Watch tracks these cases in order to make them more visible and actionable for journalists, researchers, and policymakers.
On September 19, Liberian President George Manneh Weah signed into law the Land Rights Bill (LRB), a landmark piece of legislation that recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to their customary lands and gives customary land the same standing as private land in Liberia. This historic victory sets a precedent for land rights recognition in West Africa and can serve as a model for the region and beyond.
Mexico’s forests laws mean that 80% of its forests are owned by communities; the country has more than 3,000 community forests in total. Under the watchful eye of Monte Alban, from where the ancient Zapotecs once ruled, experts from 17 countries agreed to form a coalition that builds support for locally-controlled forest enterprises and increases collaboration between support agencies.
Two new studies released on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit illustrate the powerful links between securing indigenous and community land rights and protecting the forests that are vital to mitigating climate change. As climate researchers, advocates, and leaders gather in California this week to discuss priorities and goals at the Global Climate Action Summit, they must recognize the urgent need to secure the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as a key climate solution.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and rural women have long struggled to have their customary rights to their lands and forests formally recognized—but a breakthrough in one province shows that this could be changing at a pivotal moment.
“Community forestry is a great development alternative, it improves green space, oxygen, water, and biodiversity. By doing community forestry we are ensuring a better future…
There are many NGOs, both national and international, that address land issues. They often focus on advocacy work, research related to land grabs, documentation and resolution of land-related conflicts, large-scale land acquisitions, government and military interaction with ethnic populations, forest degradation and illegal logging, and conservation issues. This work is essential for taking land issues forward in Myanmar. However, the nature of these engagements does not always enable collaborative work with public institutions, and sometimes results in confrontational positions with policy decision-makers.
Although major improvements were achieved over the last 10 years, Myanmar continues to have high levels of malnutrition. The phenomenon—of high stunting and anemia rates, overall malnutrition, an unbalanced and rice-dominant diet, and a focus on the development of the rice sector—is one that can be seen across Southeast Asia, similarly occurring in countries like Laos and Cambodia. So, the question becomes how these countries can create an enabling environment for producing and making available the necessary ingredients for a more diversified and nutrient rich diet.
It now seems possible that by century-end the largest sector of acknowledged property worldwide will be community-owned and governed.