Global dialogue and policies on forests, climate change and conservation, as well as national legal frameworks, are increasingly acknowledging the fundamental importance of recognizing the land and resource rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

At the same time, however, there is a lack of progress in implementing laws and policies on the ground, as well as countervailing pressures on forests and other community lands that threaten to impinge on or even roll back the recognition of rights. Pressures on rural and forest areas from industrial agriculture and extractive sectors, exclusive protected areas and carbon markets highlight the need for new and increased efforts to ensure that forest communities can truly realize their rights and secure benefits from them.


RRI’s work on Realizing Rights focuses on advancing the legal and policy recognition of rights as well as other necessary policy and market reforms to help ensure that local people are able to secure and benefit from their rights. Areas of work include:

  • Strategic analysis to inform understanding of key elements of community tenure security and effective approaches to legal recognition and implementation on the ground.
  • Building the evidence base and advocacy case for community land rights as a central element of global development goals.
  • Engaging the conservation sector to promote rights-based approaches to conservation policy and practice.
  • Supporting participatory community mapping and increased global visibility of areas held and claimed by indigenous peoples and local communities, as a tool to increase security of rights.