As the role played by Indigenous Peoples and local communities in safeguarding the planet gains long-due recognition by global climate and conservation initiatives, their representatives and allies have launched a new mechanism to finance locally-led efforts with full respect for the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. 

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC) and the Campaign for Nature (C4N) receive grant from Bezos Earth Fund to jointly scale up the recognition of tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples in the Tropical Andes and Congo Basin.

A new report by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), a global partnership for successfully reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the World Bank’s fund for Enhancing Access to Benefits while Lowering Emissions (EnABLE), outlines tangible ways global communities can make inroads in the effort to mitigate climate change through strengthening Indigenous sovereignty.

New research shows significance of community-held territories in 24 countries to global climate

At UNFCCC COP 26, new research shows Indigenous Peoples and local communities hold at least 958 million hectares of land in countries spanning most of the world’s endangered tropical forests – yet have legal rights to less than half of their lands. Community-held lands sequester over 250 billion metric tonnes of carbon, and lack of secure rights threatens to release much of this carbon into the atmosphere through deforestation.

Progress and challenges of securing community land rights in Africa

Recognizing secure tenure rights for local communities and Indigenous Peoples is one of the key drivers of social peace and sustainable economic development. Addressing the common need for a platform to continue sharing experiences and knowledge, we helped establish the African Land Institutions Network for Community Rights (ALIN). To assess progress since meeting in Antananarivo, Madagascar in 2019, the 3rd ALIN Conference will be held in a hybrid format in Lomé, Togo and online from October 12-14, 2021.

COVID-19 and Community land rights in Liberia: A story of resilience and hope

Across the world, the outbreak of COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for RRI members and their communities. In many cases though, it has also led to opportunities for empowering local communities. This was the case for Social Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development (SESDev), a Liberian non-profit that works on natural resource governance rights.

Should Ongoing Land Deals in the Congo Basin be Criminalized?

Africa is currently experiencing what can be called its “third great land transformation.” This follows the first one inaugurated by colonial powers, and a second one launched by postcolonial states for developmental and infrastructural purposes. The 21st century wave of land grabs, which has exploded in recent years, constitutes the third.

Forest restoration and democracy: Making communities visible in Madagascar

Recent discussions at the Global Landscapes Forum in Accra, Ghana, which revolved around tenure policy and forest landscape restoration in Madagascar, shed light on some of the issues impeding progress toward achieving positive social and ecological restoration outcomes globally.

African Land Institutions Make Community Land Rights Their Agenda

Spurred by international policy commitments and growing demand from their constituencies, African land institutions are looking to place community land rights at the center of national development agendas.

How an innovative partnership between government and civil society is driving progress in Liberia

The work to address the longstanding issue of insecurity around land does not end with legislation. Liberia’s citizens will not gain from the protections of the LRA without implementation. Nor can the government go it alone: given their proximity to communities, history of advocacy on behalf of marginalized groups, and their familiarity with the government’s platform under the new law, civil society organizations are ideal partners for implementation.

Representatives from 13 governmental land agencies in Africa announced today in Antananarivo, Madagascar the launching of the Network of African Land Institutions for Community Land Rights (ALIN) to serve as a platform for exchange and mutual support to advance opportunities to secure indigenous and community land rights across the region.

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.

Farming communities abused at troubled DRC mega-farm, campaigners say

“They started the project by taking away communities’ land without their consent, using intimidation and all kinds of misplaced government power to evict them from their own customary land,” said Kipalu, who now works for the Rights and Resources Initiative in Washington, D.C.

An Historic Victory for Liberian People and Communities

On September 19, Liberian President George Manneh Weah signed into law the Land Rights Bill (LRB), a landmark piece of legislation that recognizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to their customary lands and gives customary land the same standing as private land in Liberia. This historic victory sets a precedent for land rights recognition in West Africa and can serve as a model for the region and beyond.

Tackling Africa’s Land Rights
Tackling Africa’s Land Rights

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.

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.

NGOs fear UN REDD+ scheme to combat deforestation will lead to land grabs
NGOs fear UN REDD+ scheme to combat deforestation will lead to land grabs

Land rights is emerging as a big issue in the UN’s REDD+ programme to reduce deforestation, with concern focused on a tract of 9.8 million forested hectares in the Mai-Ndombe province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).