Secure land rights are essential to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including gender equality, conflict mitigation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, poverty alleviation, economic development, food security, and the protection of our ecosystems. Land rights are particularly essential to the well-being and livelihoods of up to 2.5 billion Indigenous Peoples and local communities globally, who manage over 50 percent of the world’s lands yet only legally own 10 percent.

Founded in 2005, the Rights and Resources Initiative, or RRI, is a global Coalition dedicated to advancing the land and resource rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and women within these groups through research, advocacy, and collaboration.

RRI’s diverse Coalition is one of the largest indigenous rights and human rights networks in the world, encompassing more than 200 organizations across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

RRI’s research on indigenous and community land rights is widely read and cited in the land, forestry, and environmental policy sectors, and has been covered in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Associated Press, BBC, Reuters, Le Monde, Voice of America, and more.

RRI is headquartered in Washington, DC and Montreal, Canada, with additional staff based in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Major funders of RRI include the Ford Foundation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, and the UK Department for International Development.

Media Contact:

Luke Allen
Officer, Strategic Communications


In the United States:
2715 M St NW Suite #300
Washington DC 20007
+1 202 470 3900

In Canada:
401-417 Rue Saint-Pierre
Montréal QC H2Y 2M4

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Press Release

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 a new study released today, researchers say they have identified significant flaws in ambitious forest preservation projects underway 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. The DRC province of Mai-Ndombe has been a testing ground for international climate schemes designed to halt forest destruction while benefiting indigenous and other local peoples who depend on forests for their food and incomes, with US$90 million already dispersed or committed for climate finance in the province.

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Con su sombrero de ala ancha, Carlos Pérez Sebastián, nuestro guía de campo durante la semana, afirmó: “La silvicultura comunitaria es una gran alternativa para el desarrollo, pues mejora los espacios verdes, el oxígeno, el agua y la biodiversidad. Al practicar la silvicultura comunitaria, estamos garantizando un mejor futuro para nuestros hijos y nietos”. Carlos explicaba esto al pie de una ladera que un ejido (grupo forestal comunitario) había restaurado con especies autóctonas en Cruz de Oco

In India, making the business case for community forest rights

In 2006, India’s parliament passed the Forest Rights Act, or FRA — a groundbreaking legislation that recognizes the rights of forest dwellers to protect and manage forest resources. Over 10 years after the legislation has passed, only 3 percent of the land on which forest dwellers could potentially claim community forest rights has been secured, according to the Rights and Resources Initiative.

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Press Coverage

25% of world’s surface can be better protected with rights

The GLF summit presented the first draft of a ‘gold standard’ on rights, which will define the principles of secure and proper rights to be applied by public, private and non-profit actors in the implementation of policies, business and initiatives in global landscape. “We wish to establish that the respect of our rights is non-negotiable,” said Joan Carlin of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG), which leads the initiative together with the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).

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.

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