Opportunities for Forest Tenure in Latin America
With forest tenure reforms already underway in several countries in Central and South America, opportunities for further advancement in the region depend heavily on national contexts. These unique country experiences create ample opportunity to share lessons and leverage change.
The groundbreaking 2009 constitutional process created an opening for broad reforms. Strong social actors in the country are now helping to mobilize allied lowland Indigenous Peoples and campesino organizations to make their voices heard at this critical moment.
Ongoing tenure and forest policy reforms offer new opportunities for advancing rights. In particular, changes are afoot in legalizing collective lands and recognizing collective forest rights of Indigenous Peoples and others. In the Petén region, groups are consolidating advances to address unrecognized or vulnerable rights of community concessionaires.
The current government is giving fresh credence to the agenda for tenure rights, and pending territorial claims by native communities in the Amazon region have a renewed chance for negotiation. The Peruvian Indigenous Peoples’ movement, civil society and government allies stand to be key players in this movement.
The definition of safeguards and other standards for government-led projects, like REDD+, has opened a space for civil society and forest community leaders—including indigenous, Afro-descendants, and campesino representatives—to participate in decisions that affect their territorial and natural resource rights.
As land reform issues are gaining momentum across Latin America, the global community is looking to the region for best practices and lessons learned. The greatest common potential for impact is through supporting civil society and grassroots organizations with proven experience and advocacy power. RRI works to expand policy influence in regional and global spheres of forestry and climate change.