SECURING TENURE RIGHTS TO PROTECT FORESTS AND COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE: EXPLORING THE ROLE OF DEVELOPMENT FINANCE
Hosted by Bank Information Center, Oxfam International, Rights and Resources Initiative and Forest Peoples Programme
Held on October 11, 2016, this event represented a unique opportunity for participants to come together and strategize around the role of development finance in realizing the collective tenure rights of indigenous peoples and local communities to address poverty reduction, land administration, deforestation and climate change.
The preliminary goal of the Land Rights Now: A Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights (LRN) is to double the area of land recognized as owned or controlled by indigenous peoples and local communities by 2020. The event sought to delve deeper into how development finance can be targeted, coordinated and improved to help achieve this aim. Kysseline Chérestal, Land Policy Advisor at Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)  and Land Rights Now Steering Group member gave the audience an overview of the LRN campaign, a coordinating mechanism to spearhead joint action to promote increased recognition of collective tenure rights. RRI’s 2015 analysis, Who Owns the World’s Land demonstrated that globally, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have legal ownership only to 10 percent of their land, despite having customary rights to over 50 percent of the world’s land. This extraordinary gap puts their economic and social well-being at great risk and places them first in line to face the environmental crises resulting from climate change and the degradation of natural resources. Needless to say, women are more adversely impacted in these situations.
The presentations from participants from Kenya, Cameroon, Peru and Mexico lent urgency to the need for finance that puts land tenure at the heart of its approach to alleviating external pressures and supporting livelihoods derived from forests and other natural ecosystems.
Presenters from Peru also made the compelling argument that securing collective land tenure should be both a goal in itself and a first step in guaranteeing that forest communities can build sustainable local economies.
Panel 1: The Case for Collective Tenure Rights
This panel addressed the challenges that confound wider recognition of the tenure rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, and explored best practices for supporting collective tenure in development projects and policies. Roberto Espinoza, Climate Advisor for the Amazonian indigenous umbrella organization Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP) in Perú opened with a reminder that “where there are people with rights, there will be living forests forever and for everyone” and encouraged additional support through dedicated grant mechanisms, specifically through the Forest Investment Program (FIP) framework that provides funding directly to indigenous and community groups to increase indigenous territorial governance, management and titling of indigenous lands. Helen Ding shared ground-breaking new research from a World Resources Institute report  on the costs and benefits of securing and maintaining land tenure. This included data showing that tenure-secure indigenous forestlands provide global carbon-mitigation benefits in Bolivia, Brazil and Colombia that amount to a total of US$25-34 billion over the next 20 years. Yator Kiptum of the Sengwer Indigenous Peoples Programme, whose forest community experienced forced evictions as a result of a World Bank-funded programme in Kenya, emphasized that rights need not be in conflict with conservation, and called on development finance institutions to support legislation, policies and laws that promote the rights of forest indigenous peoples to own and occupy their ancestral lands in forests/protected areas. Klaus Deininger, Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group touted the potential of the Bank’s Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF) as a model in the development finance arena to help policymakers design and monitor land reforms at the national level and prioritize local expertise and reporting.
- Roberto Espinoza- Climate Advisor- Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP)
- Helen Ding- Environmental Economist, World Resources Institute (WRI)
- Klaus Deininger- Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank
- Yator Kiptum- Executive Director/Secretary, Sengwer Indigenous Peoples Programme (SIPP) Pictured above
- Josh Lichtenstein- Program Manager, Rainforest Foundation US (Moderator)
Panel 2: Experiences in Management of Forests and other Natural Resources by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities
This panel highlighted indigenous and local expertise in forestry and climate change mitigation/adaptation and featured recommendations from the community level. Raúl Benet of the Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMSS) in México urged that development finance actors shift funds from reforestation to community forestry initiatives that uphold land rights and elevate community voices in public policymaking. Cécile Ndjebet, Women’s Observer of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and President of the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF) stressed the necessity of a gendered approach to forest and land tenure issues, which requires recognition of women’s contribution to halting deforestation and women’s participation in decision-making at all levels. Henderson Rengifo, President of AIDESEP in Perú emphasized the need for support not just of indigenous tenure rights, but of indigenous economies of ‘vida plena/ buen vivir’ or ‘full life/good living’, which involve diversified production, a holistic equilibrium between community, nature and culture, respect for reciprocity and equitable benefit sharing between all actors involved. Gerardo Segura of the World Bank described the current role of World Bank financing in supporting the indigenous and community management of resources as well as its plans for continued support through the Forest Action Plan.
- Cécile Ndjebet- Women’s Observer, FCPF and President, African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF) Pictured above right
- Raúl Benet- Public Policy Coordinator, Consejo Civil Mexicano para la Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMSS) Pictured below right
- Gerardo Segura – Snr. Natural Resources Management Specialist, World Bank Pictured below far right
- Henderson Rengifo- President, Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP) Pictured below far left John Garrison- Advisor to MICI, Inter-American Development Bank (Moderator) Pictured below left
The event culminated in multi-stakeholder breakout sessions in which participants were asked to develop collaboratively recommendations to embed collective land tenure issues more squarely within the broader development finance agenda.
Development finance agenda
- Development finance institutions (DFIs) to create and increase contributions to funding windows to channel direct investment to indigenous communities (eg the Dedicated Grant Mechanism, or DGM), with a focus on women’s contributions, so indigenous groups can lead their own successful land, forest and climate initiatives
- DFIs to change internal incentives for funding drivers of deforestation and land-grabbing to incentives that support indigenous and community land rights and economies
- DFIs to work together to increase coherence and coordination of donor support for indigenous economies
- DFIs to provide more support and focus on climate adaptation and women’s roles in achieving climate resilience
- DFIs to conduct further research on the benefits of securing indigenous and community tenure rights to inform their own policy and practice
- DFIs to incorporate legal, rights-based language in standards to protect the land tenure of indigenous and local communities
- DFIs to address safeguards loopholes in development policy lending and lending through financial intermediaries by applying strong land, forest and climate safeguards across lending instruments
- DFIs to strengthen and align safeguards across sectors and institutions to protect indigenous and community land rights
- DFIs to require assessment across sectors and institutions for existing indigenous and community land and forest tenure laws and frameworks as part of project design
Project design and implementation
- DFIs to work to increase support for territorial governance
- DFIs to increase financial support for government capacity-building on community land tenure issues
- DFIs to support governments in ensuring indigenous land titling and support for indigenous economies is integrated into national policies and plans
- DFIs to incorporate indigenous and community voices into project design, and particularly those of women
- Accountability mechanisms to increase their capacity to be able to address harm related to indigenous and community land and forest tenure issues
 RRI co-convenes the LRN initiative with Oxfam and the International Land Coalition, as part of an emerging platform of tools and instruments to advance the tenure agenda. RRI also designed and established The Tenure Facility, a multi-stakeholder institution exclusively focused on securing land and resource rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities; and the Interlaken Group, an ad-hoc group of company, investor, and civil society leaders that seeks to helps companies implement their commitments to land rights through a new Land and Forest Rights Guide.
 Ding et al. 2016. Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case for Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon, World Resources Institute, Washington DC. Retrieved from http://www.wri.org/publication/climate-benefits-tenure-costs