Securing Land Tenure for Prosperity of the Planet and its Peoples

Author: Paul De Wit, RRI Fellow

Date: February 7, 2023

Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, and local communities produce up to 70 percent of the world’s food with lower climate change and environmental impact than agribusinesses, but many remain under the poverty threshold. They are the de facto owners and managers of massive carbon stocks in forested and nonforested ecosystems, but markets fail to fairly reward this. This is all achieved with these communities having legal rights over only 20 percent of their land and receiving only 17 percent of global climate finance for selfdetermined investment and nature conservation. Clarifying their rights and establishing solid tenure security and capital to invest in exercising those rights are a must.

The need for Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, and local communities to acquire secure tenure over land and resources to achieve conservation and production goals is twofold:

  • First, these groups need to establish a tenure safety network over their claimed lands and resources to prevent unintended consequences, like spillovers and leakages from other global responses to climate change, environmental rehabilitation, and food systems transformation.
  • Second, they want secure tenure as part of a more enabling environment to fully unlock the potential of delivering their own solutions to current systems, threats, and opportunities.