“I basically just need you to protect the rights of the community: the right to consultation, to territories, the right to development; and if you do that, the risks to us leaders will substantially diminish.”
Carlos Rosero, Social Leader, Process for Black Communities – PCN Colombia
Protecting Indigenous and traditional communities’ rights to manage their lands and forests is a proven climate change solution and costs a fraction of other mitigation options. Deforestation rates are significantly lower when Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ land rights are recognized and enforced.
Indigenous and traditional peoples’ lands hold 80% of the world’s biodiversity. 40% of protected areas overlap with these lands and communities often provide critical support that helps protected areas be effective.
Indigenous and local communities land rights need legal recognition. At least 789 million ha of Indigenous and traditional peoples’ land claims in low- and middle-income countries have not been legally recognized. In many places, legislation providing for rights recognition already exists, but both governments and communities need additional support to implement that recognition.
Community forest management can deliver on economic growth and job creation, climate change mitigation and adaptation, equity and justice, community health and resilience, and forest conservation and biodiversity. Notable innovations in community forest enterprises over the last decade are providing better access to markets and capital. These must be supported and scaled to catalyze a robust, climate-smart forest economy.
Violence against land and environment defenders increases every year.i In addition to the health and economic crises posed by Covid-19, the pandemic is triggering regulatory rollbacks in many places, making collective lands more vulnerable to land grabbing and conflict.ii With secure funding, Indigenous and traditional peoples’ organizations can sustain and build their capacity, increase their effectiveness, and address a complex set of threats and opportunities at local, regional, and national scale.
HOW FUNDERS CAN SUPPORT
- Directly finance Indigenous and community organizations, networks, and movements to support them in mobilizing, advocating, and administering their programs.
- Fund security and collective protection for land and environment defenders and communities at risk, including strategic communications capacity so defenders and communities can connect their stories to global conversations in their own voices.
- Scale up support to existing modalities that advance Indigenous and community land rights and forest management, such as the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility.
- Help community enterprises attract new sources of capital, expand market access for their forest product value chains, and advocate to reduce regulations that discriminate against small producers.
- Mobilize public-private partnerships to scale up innovation and impact in community forest management. Consider a Global Initiative dedicated to mobilizing big investments and coordinating partnerships to finance rights- and market-based innovations to scale community ownership and engagement in sustainable economic activities.
Climate & Forests 2030 Papers
- Community Forest Management (Hodgdon)
- Social Enterprise and Innovation: Opportunities for a New Development Model in Forest and Rural Areas (Castro, Brito, & Grottera)
- World Resources Institute(2014). Securing Rights, Combatting Climate Change.