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, Afro-descendant Peoples, local communities, and the 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 150 organizations across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
RRI’s research on Indigenous, Afro-descendant, 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.
In the United States:
2445 M St NW Suite #520
Washington DC 20037
+1 202 470 3900
401-417 Rue Saint-Pierre
Montréal QC H2Y 2M4
Director, Strategic Communications
November 2023 – Event: Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Formalize a Pan-African Alliance for Community Conservation: More than 300 representatives of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, governments, donors, and NGOs from 47 African countries gathered in Windhoek, Namibia last month to collectively develop a strategy for community-led and people-centered conservation in Africa.
September 2023 – Event: National Land Institutions and Ministries from 11 African Countries Gather in Arusha to Scale Up Community Land Rights: More than 100 participants from 11 countries working to secure community land rights gathered in Arusha, Tanzania this week for the 4th Conference of National Land Institutions in Africa. The participants produced a final declaration that strongly calls for African national governments to scale up financial and technical resources for national land institutions to implement progressive land policy reforms.
August 2023 – Indigenous Leader Selected as Director of CLARIFI—RRI’s Funding Mechanism for Indigenous and Community-Led Organizations: The Rights and Resource Group has selected Deborah Sanchez, an Indigenous Miskitu woman from Honduras to lead its funding mechanism, CLARIFI (the Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative). Deborah will officially assume her role on September 11, 2023.
June 2023 – Who Owns the World’s Land? The Second Edition: This second edition of Who Owns the World’s Land? reports on progress over the first five years (2015–2020) of the SDGs, the Paris Agreement, and the Land Rights Now target to double the area of community-owned land by providing updated data on the extent of lands legally recognized as designed for and owned by Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, and local communities in 73 countries covering 85% of global lands.
May 2023 – New Resource Aims to Help Companies and Investors Partner with Indigenous and Local Peoples in their Land-Based Investments and Supply Chains: A new resource seeks to support companies and investors in understanding the shared value community monitoring could add to their operations and investments, and outlines principles to help them build productive partnerships with communities to secure their land tenure and improve compliance with environmental and social standards and commitments.
May 2023 – Indigenous and Local Community Women in Central Africa Call for Direct Funding to Help Them Achieve 30×30 Goals: Indigenous and local community women from Africa, Asia, and North and South America gather in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo to strengthen global solidarity for women-led initiatives to protect biodiversity and build climate resilience.
December 2022 – Pre-CoP15 Dialogue Initiates North-South Collaboration on Indigenous and Community Leadership in Conservation: Indigenous and community leaders from North America and the global South come together to build relations and strengthen a global solidarity movement around Indigenous and community-led responses to the global biodiversity and climate crises.
November 2022 – At CoP27, 41 grassroots women’s organizations launch new Global South Alliance for Indigenous and local women and girls: On November 11, 2022 at CoP27, 41 grassroots women’s organizations from Asia, Africa, and Latin America launched a new advocacy network called the Women in Global South Alliance for Tenure and Climate.
November 2022 – CoP27 Press Room: This is a calendar of events that RRI is engaging in at the UNFCC CoP27, being held in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt on November 8-17, 2022.
September 2022 – Funding with Purpose: A Study to Inform Donor Support for Indigenous and Local Community Rights, Climate, and Conservation: Only 17% of global climate and conservation funding intended for Indigenous Peoples and local communities actually reaches them, limiting the funds’ effectiveness and inclusivity.
July 2022 – Event: IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress Press Room: From July 18-23, RRI participated in the first-ever IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress in Kigali, Rwanda to advocate for rights-based approaches to conservation and pave the way for a more sustainable, equitable, and just future for all.
June 2022 – DRC Senate Adopts New Law on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Indigenous Pygmy Peoples: The Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Senate took a big leap forward today in recognizing the customary rights of its Indigenous population by adopting a new law on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of the Indigenous Pygmy Peoples.
February 2022 – Event: Power and Politics: A Dialogue on Human Rights and Biodiversity Conservation in Asia: On February 7, RRI and 20 co-authors launch a new report that brings together data and stories from communities on the ground to re-position global human rights and conservation discourses at the center of Asia’s unique political realities.
January 2022 – The Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative (CLARIFI): Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, local communities, and their allies launch a new international mechanism to finance community-led action for climate change and conservation with full respect for their rights.
November 2021 – CoP26 Press Room: New research by RRI, Woodwell Climate Research Center and Rainforest Foundation US shows in vivid detail the necessity of investing in Indigenous and community rights to avert climate catastrophe. The study maps territories held by 24 countries part of the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), the preeminent organization representing more than 35 million Indigenous Peoples and local communities in five of the world’s most forested regions.
October 2021 – Event: 3rd Regional Conference of National Land Institutions on Securing Community Land Rights in Africa: From October 12-14, 36 ministers, senior government officials, and civil society representatives from 12 African countries gathered in Lomé, Togo to exchange lessons and new ideas on implementing legal reforms to enforce Indigenous and community land rights across the region. The delegates agreed these reforms to be the most urgent solution to ongoing land conflicts between foreign investors, local authorities, and communities in the region.
October 2021 – Indigenous Scholar and Forester from Canada’s James Bay Cree Named New Chair of the Rights and Resources Group Board: A longtime defender of Indigenous rights in Canada, Dr. M.A (Peggy) Smith will lead the governance of Rights and Resources Initiative – a global coalition of Indigenous and Afro-descendant Peoples and local community organizations.
September 2021 – Event: Scaling-up Global Action on Collective Land Rights for Climate, Conservation & Livelihoods: On September 16, 2021, RRI and the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) hosted a discussion on new opportunities and ongoing efforts to advance the collective land rights agenda at the upcoming CoP26 and related international events.
July 2021 – Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji to serve as next Coordinator of RRI and President of RRG: The Rights and Resources Group (RRG) Board of Directors has named Dr. Solange Bandiaky-Badji as the next Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Coordinator and President of RRG, which serves as RRI’s coordinating mechanism.
June 2021 – Carbon Rights – Press Room: New analysis shows that the vast majority of tropical forested countries seeking to benefit from international forest carbon markets have yet to define in law and in practice the rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendant Peoples over carbon in their customary lands and territories.
December 2020 – 30×30 – Press Room: New Study Shows Rights-Based Conservation as Viable Path to Achieve Global Biodiversity Agenda
September 2020 – Urgency and Opportunity – Press Room: Three new technical analyses to serve as a roadmap to scale up land tenure reforms globally. The reports include:
March 2019 – Evicting Millions of Indigenous and Local Peoples from Their Forest Homes — as Ordered by Indian Supreme Court — Is Condemned by Global Experts: 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.
September 2018 – New analysis reveals that Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage 300,000 million metric tons of carbon in their trees and soil—33 times energy emissions from 2017: New analysis reveals that Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage 300,000 million metric tons of carbon in their trees and soil—33 times energy emissions from…
March 2018 – New Reports: International Efforts to Stop Deforestation Threaten Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities that Protect Tropical Forests and Vital Stores of Carbon: 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.
October 2017 – Bad for Business: New Research Shows Deadly, Expensive and Prolonged Land Conflicts Bust Bottom Lines in Forest Nations; 88 Percent of Disputes in Southeast Asia Have Not Been Resolved: Released at major land rights event in Stockholm, new research reveals that respecting rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities—not forcing them off their lands—slashes…
May 2017 – New Analysis: Governments Do Not Protect the Property Rights of Indigenous and Rural Women in 30 Countries Containing Three Quarters of the Developing World’s Forests: As rural demographics shift, lack of protections for women’s land rights undermines efforts to empower Indigenous Peoples and local communities, conserve tropical forests, and reduce poverty.
February 2017 – New Research: Forcing Local Peoples off Their Lands Drives Almost Two-Thirds of Conflicts Between Companies and Local Communities in Africa: Experts at Dakar event point to a significant cause of investment losses, work stoppages and violence across Africa: the failure of governments and companies to respect the land rights of Indigenous and local communities
November 2016 – Liberian Land Rights Defenders on the Run after Threats from Police: Mr. Alfred Brownell, a campaigner for the land rights of Liberia’s local communities, and his staff at Green Advocates have gone underground after threats from the police. This is the latest in a long history of threats, intimidation, and harassment against human rights defenders in Liberia.
May 2016 – 2.5 billion people at risk of hunger and poverty if land rights are not protected: NGOs call on governments to act to save people and planet Indigenous Peoples and local communities protect half the world’s land, but formally own just…
April 2016 – Indigenous leaders from threatened tropical forests to launch tour in Europe; will challenge region’s deadly trade in ubiquitous palm oil: As seen on Forest Peoples Programme on April 18, 2016 Between 27 April and 4 May 2016, Indigenous representatives and community leaders from tropical forest…
February 2016 – Forests on the brink: Six weeks after COP in Paris, new research finds forest peoples losing ground in key nations—despite proof of their role as best guardians—while other countries are poised to deliver on commitments: New research to report on pace of land reform for beleaguered rural communities globally; industry at crucial point in recognizing insecure tenure as source of…
September 2015 – Dispossessed: New Study Shows Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities—1.5 Billion Worldwide—Lack Legal Rights to Almost Three Quarters of Their Land: Presented at international conference in Bern, findings suggest weak tenure threatens food security, economic development, political stability and environment; failure to recognize rights may play…
January 2015 – Rainforest Action Network: New Report Finds Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Lagging on Social Responsibility Commitments; Provides Recommendations for Improvement: As seen on Rainforest Action Network San Francisco, CA – A field-based survey to investigate Asia Pulp and Paper’s (APP) performance, provide input into an…
April 2014 – New Study: Global Paper Company Makes Progress, but Continues to Face Challenges in Ensuring Legality of Land Holdings in China: Despite headway in addressing land rights violations made in recent years, Stora Enso has yet to fully ensure legality of all lands acquired in the…
March 2014 – New Research Warns of Unprecedented “Carbon Grab”; Potentially Worse than Ongoing “Land Grab”—As UN, World Bank prepare for Carbon Trading under REDD+: Report and Conference Ask: Will Carbon Rights Trading Become the Next Natural Resource Investment that Separates Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities from their Forests?
February 2014 – New Study: Indigenous Peoples, Local Communities Face Slowdown in Recognition of Rights to Land and Resources despite More Verbal Commitments by Governments, Corporations: More than three out of every five hectares of forestland still claimed by governments of low and middle income countries; progress on the ground remains…