Day 1 | Dec 6   15.45 - 17.15

Securing rights as a climate change mitigation strategy

World Resources Institute, Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), Governance Environment and Markets Initiative at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (GEM)


The new report Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change by RRI and WRI is the most comprehensive analysis to date that links legal recognition and government protection of Indigenous Peoples and community forest rights with reductions in carbon pollution. This research shows that clear and secure property rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities have increased capacity to achieve forest protection and restoration on national-level. The report also demonstrates that strengthening community rights has positive implications for the climate and for the communities who depend on these ecosystems.

Research findings by GEM showcase how community forest rights and institutions have emerged, spread, and become effective across several developing countries. This builds on in-depth case studies of policy change in Indonesia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, and Tanzania.

The session began with a short video highlighting the connection between Indigenous Peoples, local communities and climate change, and a summary of the recent RRI/WRI report Securing Rights. GEM presented findings on the processes and factors that underlie the emergence, diffusion, and effectiveness of community forest rights and institutions in developing countries. Policy-makers then discussed the relationship between community forestry and the emerging landscape and climate policy agenda. During an open discussion, panelists and participants tried to develop recommendations on how to strengthen the rights of Indigenous Peoples in REDD+, forest and landscape governance.

By discussing how securing rights can serve as proven and cost-effective climate change mitigation strategy, the session built bridges between policy-makers, practitioners, and scholars.

Key questions addressed:

  1. How might this new research encourage the protection and restoration of indigenous territories and community forests threatened by deforestation or other degraded forest landscapes at risk, and what is the broader message that can be derived from this research?
  2. How and to what extent can community forest rights and institutions be integrated with REDD+ instruments and mechanisms as well as other climate interventions, investments, and projects?
  3. What tools does this research create to better secure forest rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities and increase the area of forest effectively protected and managed by these communities?

Background reading:

Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change: How Strengthening Community Forest Rights Mitigates Climate Change