Strengthen local forests for best climate solutions

In recent research that analysed contribution of local communities’ contribution to climate change mitigation by looking at carbon storage in collective lands, it was established that communities that claim and own their collective lands have so far sequestered at least 54,546 million tonnes of carbon equivalent — roughly four times the world’s annual emissions. The study, carried out by Rights and Resources Initiative, Woods Hole Research Centre and World Resources Institute, calls for recognition of the world’s indigenous and local communities in climate stabilisation and carbon sequestration.

Minor forest produce, major returns

A report of the Rights and Resources Initiative (2015) suggests that if the FRA is implemented properly, it could lead to the recognition of the rights of at least 150 million forest-dwelling people over 40 million hectares of forestland in more than 1,70,000 villages.

To protect the Congolese peatlands, protect local land rights

Recent research by the Rights and Resources Initiative demonstrated that the DRC’s first REDD+ initiatives in Mai-Ndombe province do not adequately respect the rights of local peoples. What is more, they are actually failing to protect their forests.

Where women lead on climate change

Pressures from climate change have worsened poverty, food insecurity, human trafficking, and child marriage, activists argue. For a long time, says Ms. Bandiaky-Badji, people have focused on rural and indigenous women “as victims.”

NGOs fear UN REDD+ scheme to combat deforestation will lead to land grabs

Land rights is emerging as a big issue in the UN’s REDD+ programme to reduce deforestation, with concern focused on a tract of 9.8 million forested hectares in the Mai-Ndombe province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

DR Congo’s Mai-Ndombe Forest ‘Savaged’ As Landless Communities Struggle

The forests of Mai-Ndombe (“black water” in Lingala) are rich in rare and precious woods (red wood, black wood, blue wood, tola, kambala, lifake, among others). It is also home to about 7,500 bonobos, an endangered primate and the closest cousin to humans of all species, sharing 98 percent of our genes, according to the WWF.

The forests constitute a vital platform providing livelihoods for some 73,000 indigenous individuals, mostly Batwa (Pygmies), who live here alongside the province’s 1.8 million population, many of whom with no secure land rights.

Liberia’s new president must lead on land rights or risk conflict

President Weah has a choice: be “open for business” without recognizing community land rights and risk a backslide into conflict and insecurity or to move towards a new model by prioritizing the land rights of the people who voted him into office and consolidate peace and sustainable development in Liberia.

Can seven pieces of information reduce land conflicts?

Large-scale land acquisitions can spark conflict because of their potential to drive local people from their land and homes, with research published last year showing displacement of local people was the most significant driver of investment disputes in Africa.

As many as 26 cases across 11 states show that forest land is being acquired by the government for development projects like mining and dams’ construction by forging consent of tribespeople or by ignoring it, according to a new analysis.

REDD+ in Mai-Ndombe: A Threat to People and Forests?

REDD+ pilot projects implemented in Mai-Ndombe province, in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), can harm beneficiaries without stopping deforestation, according to…

UN schemes to save forests ‘can trample on tribal rights’

The only UN-approved financial mechanism to curb deforestation, a key driver of global warming, has bulldozed the rights of forest-dwelling peoples on three continents and needs to be fixed, experts say.

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a group of governmental and non-governmental organizations, released a new report on March 14. In it, the group claims that a set of conservation and development projects known collectively as REDD+ are sidelining local communities in Mai-Ndombe and infringing on their rights to control what happens to their forest homes.

U.N. climate projects in Congo leave locals worse off – report

A large-scale United Nations programme to halt deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world’s second-largest rainforest, is harming local communities and failing to protect forests, land rights researchers said on Wednesday. The U.S.-based group Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) called on the World Bank to withhold funding from 20 current or pending projects in the province of Mai-Ndombe, which has been a test case for a U.N.-backed conservation scheme known as REDD+.

UN forest project ‘does more harm than good’

The harm a UN forest project in Africa is doing to local people is greater than the good it is managing to achieve for them, researchers say. They say they have found significant flaws in conservation projects in a densely-forested region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a decision on future investment by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility(FCPF) is imminent.

To improve land rights in Ghana, start with women

If you talk to anybody in the land sector in Ghana, they say they are interested in protecting women and protecting their rights, but the structures in place – especially customary systems – make it challenging for women to defend their rights. It’s not that the law itself defines a different set of rights for men than for women, but the problem is in the way the law is interpreted and applied.

The right way to save India’s forests

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 has raised serious concerns about the human and environmental costs of compensatory afforestation (CA). Mounting evidence establishes that CA plantations destroy natural forests, harm biodiversity, undermine the rights and nutrition of local communities, and disguise rampant misuse of public funds.

Have Companies Really Done Enough to Bring An End To Deforestation?

Lien De Brouckere, Deputy Director of the Africa Region for the Rights and Resources Initiative, says that accountability is one of the main challenges for the initiatives she works with, which largely involve protecting African forests from deforestation by palm oil growers.

Combining traditional knowledge with science for climate adaptation

Indigenous communities hold a wealth of knowledge about their local environment, which – if properly documented and shared – has potential to enhance scientific efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Rainforests: the year in review 2017

Between America’s abandonment of leadership on conservation and environmental policy, Brazil’s backtracking on forest conservation, massive forest fires worldwide, and the revelation of a sharp increase in global forest loss in 2016, 2017 was a rough year for tropical rainforests. Still, there were bright spots, including the establishment of new protected areas, better forest monitoring and research, and continued progress in recognizing the critical role local and indigenous communities play in forest conservation.

A new forest economy

On November 17, the forest department of Odisha gave in to the demands of tribal communities from six villages of Kalahandi district. The communities wanted to sell the tendu leaves they had collected from the Bhawanipatna forest division to traders of their choice, but it took them six months of protests and several memorandums to make the forest department budge. Traditionally, the Odisha Forest Development Corporation would buy the leaves from them. This year the corporation was offering the communities Rs 2.40 for a bundle of 60 leaves but direct sale to traders fetched them Rs 7.50.

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.