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New studies highlight shifts in forest tenure and the role of rights recognition
July 14th - The Rights and Resources Initiative launched two new reports today in an event held at the London House of Commons, sponsored by RRI and the Forest Peoples Programme. The reports examine the shifts in forest tenure around the world and highlight the critical role of rights recognition in addressing poverty, conflict and climate change. To view the press release of the launch, click here.
The first report, entitled Seeing People Through the Trees: Scaling Up Efforts to Advance Rights and Address Poverty, Conflict and Climate Change, outlines several key findings, asserting that:
- Rapidly growing world demand for food, fiber and bioenergy could lead to a global land grab, with severe consequences for many of the world’s poorest people, particularly those occupying forest lands;
- Recognizing and strengthening the property and human rights of forest-dwelling indigenous and other local communities is the first and most important step towards averting the social and environmental disasters that a global land grab could invoke;
- There is tremendous scope for investments aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change that strengthen local land rights, reduce rural poverty and conflict, protect remaining natural forest areas, and restore degraded forest areas.
The second report builds on the findings of the 2002 study Who Owns the World’s Forests?, which reported a trend in recent decades towards the increased recognition of community and local forest tenure. The new report: From Exclusion to Ownership?: Challenges and Opportunities in Advancing Forest Tenure Reform, presents evidence that while the trend towards community and local tenure has continued since 2002, it has been constrained by several challenges, including:
- inadequate enforcement and implementation of reforms;
- lack of progress on complimentary rights;
- government preference for industrial concessions and conservation over people;
- competition within and among forest communities; and
- weak performance of governments in advancing reforms.
Despite these challenges, both reports find reasons for hope. Forest communities and other rural peoples are organizing themselves and gaining strength. And the transitions of recent years have provided additional evidence that strengthened community and local forest tenure can enhance livelihoods, improve forest management and promote conservation. Both papers conclude with recommendations on advancing further tenure reform and promoting poverty alleviation, a reduction of forest conflict and climate change mitigation.
Click here to see the report: Seeing People Through the Trees: Scaling Up Efforts to Advance Rights and Address Poverty, Conflict and Climate Change
Click here to see the report: From Exclusion to Ownership?: Challenges and Opportunities in Advancing Forest Tenure Reform
Select the articles below to view the press coverage of the launch:
Guardian.co.uk: Forest Funding ‘could put billions in wrong hands’
Telegraph.co.uk: Warnings of a global land grab
BBC News: Forests to fall for food and fuel
Posted By Andrew Davis at 3:14pm on July 14, 2008
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