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RRI | New research by the Rights and Resources Initiative

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) has shared three new technical analyses to serve as a roadmap to scale up land tenure reforms globally. The launch of these analyses is intended to influence donors, policy makers, negotiators, and investors in advance of UN Climate Week, and to feed into negotiations of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, Convention on Biological Diversity 15, and UNFCCC COP 26. The reports include:

  1. Estimate of the area of land and territories of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants where their rights have not been recognized – this document represents the first comprehensive effort to develop a global baseline of the total land area with unrecognized rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants. The analysis covers 42 countries, representing almost 50 percent of global land area. It finds that that Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and Afro-descendants exercise customary rights to at least 50% of the land area of the countries studied, and at least 46% of this area has yet to be recognized.
  2. The Opportunity Framework: Identifying Opportunities to Invest in Securing Collective Tenure Rights in the Forest Areas of Low and Lower Middle Income Countries – the Opportunity Framework provides a simple tool to help facilitate, prioritize, and mobilize greater investments to scale-up the recognition of land and forest rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples. This report is an independent, and expert, high-level scan of the status of country readiness for investments to secure these rights, prioritizing countries that are members of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). Based on the results of the study, investment in just 7 countries would shift some 176 million hectares of forest lands from public to Indigenous or community ownership, more than doubling progress made over the last 15 years, benefiting some 400 million people, and helping to secure some 153 billion tons of carbon.
  3. Urgency and Opportunity: Addressing global health, climate, and biodiversity crises by scaling-up the recognition and protection of Indigenous and community land rights and livelihoods – this brief synthesizes findings from the above technical analyses, along with other datapoints drawn from historical RRI research, to orient these arguments at the heart of ongoing negotiations related to climate, biodiversity, and the global response to Covid-19. The brief concludes with a call from the RRI Coalition, aimed at governments, the international community, conservation organizations, and the private sector on priority actions to take to close the gap in the legal recognition and protection of the customary land and forest rights of communities to mitigate climate change, protect vital ecosystems, and accelerate progress towards inclusive and sustainable development.

This suite of analysis spotlights both unrealized potential and opportunities for global support and investments in secure Indigenous and community lands, which in turn offer the chance to build a more sustainable, just, and resilient world. Taken together, these elements represent the ingredients for transformative change.

To learn more about the technical analysis, please visit the recently updated RRI website. You can access the newly available reports, brief, and press release, here.