From Risk and Conflict to Peace and Prosperity

The urgency of securing community land rights in a turbulent world

Author: Rights and Resources Initiative

Date: February 9, 2017

Amid the realities of major political turbulence, there was growing recognition in 2016 that the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities are key to ensuring peace and prosperity, economic development, sound investment, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. Despite equivocation by governments, a critical mass of influential investors and companies now recognize the market rationale for respecting community land rights. There is also increased recognition that ignoring these rights carries significant financial and reputational risks; causes conflict with local peoples; and almost always fails to deliver on development promises.
  • Key Findings
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Key Findings

Amid political and economic uncertainties, one source of hope for our shared future is the very real possibility to make great gains in securing the land rights of 2.5 billion community members who protect and conserve the forests, water, biodiversity, minerals, and ecosystems on which the rest of humanity depends. Priorities for progress in 2017 include:

  1. Ensure no rollback of Indigenous Peoples’ and communities’ land rights.
  2. Strengthen indigenous and community organizations’ ability to advance their messages and hold rights violators accountable through networking and strategic communications.
  3. Support Indigenous Peoples’ and communities’ efforts to develop and defend their own forest management and enterprise models.
  4. Accelerate the recognition of rights on the ground by consolidating and connecting the existing platform of tenure-related instruments.
  5. Mobilize greater effort by the private sector to secure community land rights as a way to minimize business and climate risks.
  6. Prioritize women’s rights to community land and forests, promote recognition of their role in forest management, and champion their political leadership across the developing world.

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