A number of experts now believe that reclaiming land for indigenous people is the best way to protect the Earth’s forests. According to the Rights and Resources Initiative, an N.G.O. that advocates for native land rights, legally recognized indigenous forests “tend to store more carbon and experience lower rates of deforestation.” But in a recent report supported by data from the Woods Hole Research Center, the initiative found that while indigenous communities currently manage forests and soil containing nearly three hundred billion metric tons of carbon—thirty-three times more than global energy-related emissions in 2017—they lacked legal titles to the sites of at least a third of that carbon total.” This puts “them, their forests and the carbon they store at great risk,” Alain Frechette, one of the authors of the initiative’s report, said.
A web-based application that monitors the impact of successful forest-rights claims can help rural communities manage resources better and improve their livelihoods, according to analysts.
Indigenous peoples and local communities in 64 tropical and subtropical countries occupy land storing nearly 300 billion metric tons of carbon above- and below-ground. That’s equal to 33 years of pollution, given a 2017 baseline. Where indigenous peoples live, high-tech mapping indicates, deforestation rates are dramatically lower, especially in the relatively few places where they have land ownership rights.
“In Africa, indigenous peoples and local communities have customary rights to around 80 percent of the land, but they are only recognized for 16 percent of that territory,” explained Patrick Kipalu, Africa Program Coordinator at the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
Governments maintain control over more than two-thirds of global forest area, much of which is claimed by local communities, RRI said in a report this month.
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.
“If appropriately leveraged, natural climate solutions can contribute upwards of 37 percent of cost-effective CO2 mitigation by 2030 and evidence shows Indigenous Peoples and local communities are key to achieving such outcomes.” This is one of the key conclusions from the global baseline study described as “the most comprehensive assessment to date of carbon storage in documented community lands worldwide.”
A recent study released by Washington-based research coalition Rights and Resources Initiative showed that indigenous peoples and local communities across the globe owned at least 418 million hectares, 15.2 percent of the forestland in the regions.
Granting forest dwellers legal rights to their traditional lands helps fight deforestation and climate change, but the vast majority of the world’s forests remain under government control with limited access for communities, researchers said. Only about 14 percent of forests, or about 527 million hectares, were legally owned or designated for local communities in 58 countries surveyed by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a Washington D.C.-based advocacy group.
The NGO Rights and Resources International (RRI) estimates that indigenous peoples have legally recognized rights to just 10 percent of the world’s land, though they control as much as 65 percent through customary, community-based tenure systems. Anne-Sophie Gindroz, RRI’s facilitator for South East Asia, said that the law isn’t only failing indigenous communities when it comes to awarding them title to their traditional lands.
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.
Land managed by indigenous people holds vastly more carbon than previously thought, according to a report that calls for an urgent strengthening of their land rights to avoid its release into the atmosphere. But while communities have succeeded in securing governmental recognition of their forest rights for 15 per cent of forests globally, the pace of recognition since 2008 has decreased, according to the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the organisation behind a second report.
The study, led by Rights and Resources International (RRI), found that indigenous peoples are far better stewards of the land than their countries’ governments.
While communities have succeeded in securing governmental recognition of their forest rights for 15 per cent of forests globally, the pace of recognition since 2008 has decreased, according to the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the organisation behind a second report.
New analysis reveals that Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage 300,000 million metric tons of carbon in their trees and soil—33 times energy emissions from…
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.
Thai campaigners have criticized a pilot program that allows villagers to live in the forest as long as they care for the environment, arguing that it does not give land tenure security.
A new United Nations report warns that “in a wide variety of countries,” both physical violence and legal prosecution are used against Indigenous Peoples defending their rights and lands. They are “criminalized”.
In support of the Special Rapporteur’s report, a new website brings together audio and written testimony provided by indigenous leaders on this pervasive problem worldwide. The report and supplementary materials describe a systematic attack on indigenous land and human rights defenders around the world, an effort to silence those who oppose development projects on their lands.
Governments and corporations are increasingly using legal persecution to portray indigenous activists as criminals and terrorists, putting them at heightened risk of violence, the United Nations said on Monday. Indigenous leaders and campaigners fighting to protect land from development are being stymied and silenced by rising militarization, national security acts and anti-terrorism laws, according to a report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Land conflicts can be fatal for burgeoning agribusiness or other enterprises located in rural regions, but many companies have limited knowledge of how to anticipate and evaluate land-related risk. This is particularly true for land held under collective arrangements by Indigenous peoples or other communities, which is seldom formally documented.
None of these measures can be achieved if forests are not at the heart of land use policies, development strategies, and actions that go far beyond the forest sector. Consequently, there has been an increased emphasis on certain sustainable management practices, especially those that can integrate multiple sectors to evaluate the opportunities of food, water and energy security.
Indigenous and local communities own more than half the world’s land under customary rights. Yet they only have secure legal rights to 10 percent, according to Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Rights and Resources Initiative.
The rapid growth of protected areas from Peru to Indonesia has exacerbated their vulnerability: more than 250,000 people in 15 countries were evicted from such areas from 1990 to 2014, according to RRI.
Could the tide by turning for one of the continent’s trickiest issues – land rights? In Tunisia, President Essebsi has announced plans to submit a draft bill to parliament that would give women the same inheritance rights as men. Wafa Ben-Hassine, a lawyer and human rights advocate welcomed the news. However, she stressed that for real change to occur, the existing laws need to be implemented effectively. Jenna Di Paolo Colley from the US-based campaign group, Rights and Resources says the inability of local, indigenous populations to defend what’s traditionally been theirs is a basic obstacle to development.