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Strengthening Community Forest Rights Critical to Fight Climate Change


“The bottom line is clear: Strengthening community forest rights is a critical policy approach to mitigate global climate change through reduced deforestation and carbon sequestration,” said Jennifer Morgan, Director, Climate and Energy Program, WRI. “When it comes to tackling climate change, land rights must be on the list of tools we use.”

The report notes that some countries have made significant progress in recognizing the rights of local communities and some REDD+ initiatives are beginning to support this trend. But in addition to pointing to countries that have enjoyed the climate benefits from enforcing community forest rights, the report offers a cautionary note to governments that undermine those rights. Indonesia, for example, the world’s second largest emitter of carbon pollution from deforestation and other land uses, legally recognizes only one of approximately 42 million hectares of forests held by communities. Stronger community forest rights could stem the tide of the country’s rampant forest loss, mostly due to palm oil expansion.

“REDD+ was established because it is well known that deforestation is a significant part of the climate change problem. What is not as widely understood is how effective forest communities are at protecting their forest from deforestation and increasing forest health. This is why REDD+ must be accompanied by community safeguards,” said Tony LaVina, lead forest and climate negotiator for the Philippines and Dean of the Ateneo School of Government, Ateneo de Manila University. “‘Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change’ is an important work that connects the dots by showing that strengthening community forest rights needs to be part of a broader climate change solution.”

In response to this report’s release, Peru’s Environment Minister and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar Vidal said, “The climate negotiations in Lima later this year offer a key opportunity to make progress on real solutions for curbing carbon emissions from deforestation. The report ‘Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change’ highlights that an important element to support our objective to reduce deforestation, is to strengthen governance issues, including strengthening community forest rights, so that forest communities can withstand diverse pressures. The Peruvian Ministry of Environment as part of its objectives to support forest conservation, instituted a program that aims to strengthen the rights of forest communities and grant benefits for sustainably managing their forests. While there are many factors involved in deforestation, strengthening the rights of forest communities is simply the smart choice for the future of our people, our forests and our climate.”

Robert ter Kuile, Senior Director Sustainability, PepsiCo, Inc, said, “‘Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change’ demonstrates that PepsiCo’s commitment to respect the legitimate land tenure rights of indigenous peoples and other community members directly affected by forestry operations is not only good for businesses and communities; it is also good for combating climate change and reducing deforestation.”


Check the following link to read/download the Full Report:


Source: WRI and RRI.


World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 50 countries, with offices in the United States, China, India, Brazil, and more. More than 450 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action to sustain our natural resources – the foundation of economic opportunity and human well-being. For more information, visit www.wri.org.

Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) is a global coalition of 14 Partners and over 140 international, regional and community organizations advancing forest tenure, policy and market reforms. RRI leverages the strategic collaboration and investment of its Partners and Collaborators around the world by working together on research, advocacy, and convening strategic actors to catalyze change on the ground. RRI is coordinated by the Rights and Resources Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. For more information, visit www.rightsandresources.org.