Bridging the gap between public funding and forest-based community enterprises

Not so long ago, these coffee producers in Bengkulu, a province on Sumatra island in Indonesia, were harvesting during the night to avoid being caught by forest rangers. Despite having lived on their lands for generations, the government considered their activities illegal. Now, the local communities proudly cultivate their coffee in the daylight—and preserve the forest at the same time. The government even provides financing to their cooperative. By supporting the community to care for and harvest from the forest, they are both supporting local livelihoods and ensuring the forest is protected.

Referring to the estimates of Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) CSD says the actual potential forest land going to be recognized under FRA, 2006 would be more than 85.6 million acres (excluding five north-eastern states and J&K) and more than 200 million Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) in over 170,000 villages in the country are estimated to get IFR rights under FRA.

Tribals Invented Sev 200 Years Ago. Now, Sev Makers Are Evicting Them

Despite a perception that land conflicts in India are driven by acquisition of private land, growing evidence shows that a large number of conflicts involve diversion of common land. Nearly a third of over 200 ongoing land conflicts in 2016 involved common lands, according to an analysis by Mumbai’s Tata Institute of Social Sciences, a research institute, and the Rights and Resources Initiative, an advocacy based in Washington D.C., USA.

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.

Thai community forest bill won’t benefit all, campaigners say

A new community forest bill that aims to give Thai villagers more say in managing natural resources is too limited in its scope and risks further marginalising those living outside areas covered by the act, land campaigners said on Thursday.

In 2014, President Joko Widodo had secured a voter bloc of 12 million Indigenous Peoples. But five years later, as he is seeking re-election in April’s presidential elections against the same political opponent, Jokowi has failed to secure the endorsement of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN)—Indonesia’s largest indigenous network—whose voting bloc has doubled in size since 2014.

The Chao Lay, or people of the sea, have lived on the shores of Thailand and Myanmar for generations, fishing and foraging. But the community may be facing its greatest threat yet as marine conservation efforts limit their traditional fishing grounds, and a tourism boom pits them against developers keen on the patch of land that their boats, homes and shrines sit on.

India’s Land Conflict Watch: Tracking Land Conflicts to Drive Rights Recognition

Given that India is the seventh largest country in the world with a population of 1.3 billion people, it is not surprising that land conflicts that affect more remote communities and Indigenous Peoples rarely gain national or international recognition. Land Conflict Watch tracks these cases in order to make them more visible and actionable for journalists, researchers, and policymakers.

With forest rights, indigenous Indonesians stave off mining, palm oil

Governments maintain control over more than two-thirds of global forest area, much of which is claimed by local communities, RRI said in a recent report. In Indonesia, indigenous people are estimated to have ownership rights over 40 million hectares of customary forest and other land.

Thai activist to appeal sentence for trespassing in national park

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.

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.

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.

A new analysis of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Mai-Ndombe province finds REDD+ investments in the region are moving forward without clear recognition of the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The findings come at a crucial time, as a decision on future investment by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility is imminent.

As Nepal wrote a new constitution and laid out guidelines for three tiers of elections, community forest users worried that the new government would leave little room for the voices of traditionally marginalized groups, like rural women and Dalits, a historically persecuted community in Nepal and India. The power to sit at the bargaining table and make important policy decisions, they agreed, had to come from adequate representation, particularly at the local government level.

That’s why women leaders and activists at a civil society organization called FECOFUN decided to run for office.

Photo Essay: Protecting the Forests, Protecting Dragon’s Blood

Indonesia faces a deforestation crisis: an estimated 55 percent of forests located in concession areas were lost over a period of 15 years (2000-2015), with an estimated total loss of more than 6.7 million hectares within and outside of concession areas. The country has been losing its forests at a rapid rate for decades, and in turn, adat and local communities’ livelihoods are under threat, and the wildlife and plant diversity in their traditional territories is being lost….

View the full photo essay here.