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4 common misconceptions about Indigenous Peoples and local communities, explained

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.

Case for optimism: Real-world success stories of indigenous and community women claiming their rights

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.

A new high: Indigenous Thai farmers swap opium for coffee, land

The Doi Tung Development Project, run by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Thai royal patronage, is held up by the United Nations as a model for ending narcotic drug cultivation and improving the lives of indigenous communities. Yet in other parts of the country, indigenous people continue to live in poverty and face challenges in accessing land, livelihoods and citizenship, according to tribal rights groups.

Land Conservation: A Risky Business

Launched by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility is the first and only multi-stakeholder financial mechanism focused on securing land and forest rights for indigenous peoples and local communities. It provides grants to indigenous organisations to help scale up implementation of land and forest tenure reform policies as well as to map and register their lands.

If you want to protect the forests, you have to protect the people

“Those new conservation and climate bodies need to incorporate indigenous peoples. $1 billion was given to preserve 30% by 2030, however we would have achieved this 30% if we simply implemented indigenous rights across 7 countries,” said Andy White, Coordinator of Rights and Resources Initiatives (RRI).

“The second wave of decolonization” – A conversation with Andy White

The RRI is a global network advocating for the land and forest rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities. As the RRI’s coordinator, Andy White travels the world, meeting with Indigenous and community leaders, governments and civil society organizations to discuss how local communities’ rights to the forest can be advanced. Here, as part of an ongoing review of community rights to forested lands and key conditions for success led by Tropenbos International, he talks about recent progress and challenges and the role that civil society organizations can play to help people claim their rights as a step toward locally-led sustainable development.

Referring to the estimates of Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) CSD says the actual potential forest land going to be recognized under FRA, 2006 would be more than 85.6 million acres (excluding five north-eastern states and J&K) and more than 200 million Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) in over 170,000 villages in the country are estimated to get IFR rights under FRA.

Tribals Invented Sev 200 Years Ago. Now, Sev Makers Are Evicting Them

Despite a perception that land conflicts in India are driven by acquisition of private land, growing evidence shows that a large number of conflicts involve diversion of common land. Nearly a third of over 200 ongoing land conflicts in 2016 involved common lands, according to an analysis by Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences, a research institute, and the Rights and Resources Initiative, an advocacy based in Washington D.C., USA.

The Indian Supreme Court decision in February to remove millions of forest-dwelling people in five months will not only have devastating human rights implications but also hurt the global struggle to save forests and mitigate climate change, according to numerous experts. Even though implementation of the decision has been placed on hold until July, the homes of millions remains under threat.

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.

The biggest rainforest news stories in 2018

Recognition of the role local and indigenous communities have in stewarding forests continued to grow in 2018. More reports and studies argued that securing indigenous peoples’ land rights is one of the most cost-effective mechanisms for protecting forests and mitigating climate change. Accordingly, philanthropic attention and dollars shifted toward such efforts, including a pledge by group of 17 philanthropic foundations at the Global Climate Action Summit to support recognition of indigenous peoples’ and traditional communities’ collective land rights and resource management as part of their land-based climate change mitigation programs. A study co-authored by UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) even put a dollar figure on the labor and cash indigenous peoples invest in forest conservation efforts, estimating the annual contributions of such “Forest Guardians” at $1.7 billion.

The global community should address environmental issues as human rights issues

Overall, these approaches, which are framed as human rights issues alongside environmental issues, have a drastic impact on the globe’s future. In September, The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) published a study that found that “legally recognized indigenous and community forests tend to store more carbon and experience lower rates of deforestation than other forests.” RRI’s findings reinforce the view that locally managed forests, whether it is indigenous lands or communal lands, help connect the health of nature with the health of people and ultimately the health of our collective future.

Indigenous peoples denounce ongoing land rights violations in Ecuador

Indigenous people in Ecuador say their territorial rights are being systematically violated, according to a top United Nations official. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N.’s special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, is urging the Ecuadoran government to form a “truly plurinational and multicultural society” in accordance with its constitution and international law.

Approaching the point of no return

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.