Respecting Land and Forest Rights: A Guide for Companies (Revised 2019)

The Interlaken Group developed this Guide to support companies aiming to align their operations with the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

Companies may face operational, legal, and financial risks when operating or investing in locations where land rights are disputed or where tenure rights are not understood and respected. Perhaps more importantly, community access and rights to livelihoods and economic security may be negatively impacted by such investments. This paper illustrates how selected companies are implementing commitments to international best practices on land rights. Given that the companies referenced in this paper are in the process of developing and improving ways to address land tenure rights, the cases ought to be viewed as examples of emerging company experiences, which can contribute to establishing best practices.

A Global Baseline of Carbon Storage in Collective Lands

Forests and other lands are essential for achieving climate and development ambitions. 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 report presents the most comprehensive assessment to date of carbon storage in documented community lands worldwide.

This analysis reports on trends in global forest tenure over the fifteen-year period from 2002-2017. It is the fourth in a series of analyses monitoring the legal recognition of forest tenure around the world according to four categories of legally recognized (statutory) forest tenure: government administered, designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and privately owned by individuals and firms.

Cornered by Protected Areas

Despite widespread poverty and insecure resource rights, evidence shows that Indigenous Peoples and local communities are nevertheless spending their limited resources on conservation efforts and achieving outcomes that are at least equivalent to those of government-funded protected areas. As this brief shows, there is an urgent need to replace the fortress-conservation model with rights-based approaches to both improve conservation outcomes and end human-rights abuses committed in the name of conservation.

This brief presents a review of the nominal progress made in the national-level laws and regulations that govern the carbon trade and define the rights of parties—across a sample of 24 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These countries collectively hold more than 50 percent of global tropical and subtropical forests.

This study aims to assess the cumulative risks and impacts of all REDD+ initiatives in Mai-Ndombe on the rights and subsistence of local communities and Indigenous Peoples, using existing tools while taking into account gray areas of the REDD+ process. Findings come from existing project documentation, field studies conducted in recent years, and a series of interviews with REDD+ stakeholders in Mai-Ndombe. The study provides a mapping of all existing and planned REDD+ initiatives in the province, as well as a cross-cutting contextual analysis of risks which connects REDD+ to human rights. This is followed by an assessment of these initiatives’ cumulative impacts as well as of national and project strategies to address and reduce risks. It thus offers a perspective on the link between the accumulation of REDD+ initiatives and conflicts at different scales.

Legislative Best Practices for Securing Women’s Rights to Community Lands

This brief highlights key attributes of national constitutions, laws, and regulations that play a fundamental role in protecting indigenous and rural women’s rights to community forests and other community lands. These legislative best practices were derived from a 2017 analysis of over 400 national laws and regulations, Power and Potential, which evaluates the extent to which women’s rights to community forests are recognized by national law in 30 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The Green Climate Fund: Accomplishing a Paradigm Shift?

Drawing on international standards and Green Climate Fund policy documents, this report traces the adequacy and implementation effectiveness of the Fund’s current institutional frameworks across a representative sample of approved projects. Noting critical gaps in nearly every aspect of the Fund’s operational modalities and project approval processes, the report calls on the GCF to take progressive steps to make Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ rights a key part of its climate actions going forward.

Tenure and Investment in Southeast Asia

This document provides an empirical picture of the causes and effects of tenure-related disputes between private sector actors and local peoples across Southeast Asia. It…

This report discusses the critical role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in the context of emerging climate and development priorities, and the unprecedented opportunity to scale up the recognition and protection of community land and resource rights—both for the benefit of rural peoples and for the realization of global peace and prosperity. Drawing on the growing number of actors, initiatives, and legal or technical instruments that now support rural tenure security, it argues that the momentum for change has never been greater. It calls on all parties to strengthen coordination and secure the implementation of existing legal provisions and commitments as a foundation for the pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Gujarat: Promise and Performance of the Forest Rights Act, 2006

This study gives an approximate estimate of the potential forest areas that can be covered under the FRA in Gujarat. The idea is to compare and assess the actual status of the implementation with regards to the potential. This study also provides an overview of the implementation of the Act, together with highlights of both positive and negative aspects of the process and outcomes.

Telangana: Promise and Performance of the Forest Rights Act, 2006

This study makes a preliminary assessment of the potential forest area over which rights can be recognized in Telangana under the FRA and compares it with the actual performance. The estimate provided offers a baseline for informing implementation, planning, and setting targets for rights recognition under the FRA.

Odisha: Promise and Performance of the Forest Rights Act, 2006

This study makes a preliminary assessment of the potential forest area over which rights can be recognised in Odisha under the FRA. The estimate offers a baseline for informing implementation, planning, and setting targets for rights recognition under the FRA.

Women’s Leadership, Agency, and Voice

This report synthesizes research findings on gender dynamics and the implications for gender justice in community-based tenure systems in Zambia and Bolivia.

This report considers the implications of oil palm expansion on women’s access to resources (financial, social and natural), division of labor within the plantations, and in the distribution of care responsibilities.

Power and Potential

A new analysis from RRI provides an unprecedented assessment of legal frameworks regarding indigenous and rural women’s community forest rights in 30 developing countries comprising 78 percent of the developing world’s forests.