The United Nations Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, has released a report highly critical of the global conservation movement and calling for indigenous peoples and other local communities to have a greater say in protecting the world’s forests. Titled Cornered by Protected Areas and co-authored with the US-based NGO Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the report is an explicit condemnation of “fortress conservation.”

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.

Q&A: Why conservation must include indigenous rights

Indigenous peoples and local communities conserve lands and forests for a quarter of the cost of public and private investments in protected areas, according to new findings released at the Oslo Tropical Forest Forum last week, yet “fortress conservation” strategies often see indigenous peoples driven from their land in an effort to protect it from human activity.

Throwing weight behind the demands of indigenous peoples and activists, a new research by Washington-based Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) has found that indigenous peoples and local communities are able to achieve equivalent conservation outcomes by investing only a fraction of the total money spent on conservation by all other agencies.

The best way to save forests and curb biodiversity loss is to recognize the claims of indigenous peoples to their territories, a new report urges. Published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), an international NGO headquartered in Washington, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous rights, the 28-nation study compares conservation outcomes in lands controlled by indigenous groups against those in government-managed “protection zones.”

The world today is in the grip of an existential crisis in more ways than one. The future of the Blue Planet has never before been clouded with more ominous portents. Yet some of its oldest inhabitants and indigenous peoples perhaps have been the best guardians of its natural resources, and a new report only confirms this. It is the indigenous peoples who have “long stewarded and protected the world’s forests, a crucial bulwark against climate change.”

Along the route from Mumbai’s international airport in Santa Cruz to the high-profile business district of Nariman Point, is a series of billboards featuring a significantly larger-than-life image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcoming investors to the third annual general meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

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.

The 15th Free Land Camp (Terra Livre, or ATL for its Portuguese acronym) brought 3,000 Indigenous Peoples and their allies together from all regions of the country at a massive encampment in Brasilia to call for justice for indigenous communities. Participants used the gathering—one of the largest ever—to create and present a unified political agenda before the Brazilian government.

UN Permanent Forum spotlights Indigenous Peoples’ contributions to global goals

The theme of this year’s UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was “Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories, and resources.” Indigenous leaders from across the globe noted the crucial role that secure rights play in their lives and livelihoods, and in the advancement of sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

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.”

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.