Via YouTube

STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The rights of indigenous peoples and local communities were bolstered earlier this month following the launch of a multi-stakeholder institution dedicated to securing land rights.

“It is the only [mechanism] of its kind dedicated to supporting indigenous peoples and local communities to recognize their land rights,” Nonette Royo, executive director of the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility, told Devex, adding that as well as helping people do more and better mapping, it also enables them to protect their territories in terms of legal procedures and active protection of their forests.

Created by the Rights and Resources Initiative, the International Land and Tenure Facility aims to resolve land-based conflicts by providing grants and legal support to communities seeking to protect their lands from exploitation by mining, energy, and agricultural companies. It brings together indigenous peoples and local communities, civil society organizations, and government institutions, and has the dual purpose of preserving the world’s tropical forests and natural resources while reducing poverty.

“By putting forests and land at the center of this question of inequality and climate change, we find a solution that allows us to protect forests and improve the lives and livelihoods of people who live on those lands,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, one of the Tenure Facility’s sponsors, at the launch event in Stockholm. Other international donors include the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Climate and Land Use Alliance, Acacia, and the Norwegian International Climate and Forests Initiative.

Following pilot projects in Indonesia, Mali, Peru, Liberia, Cameroon, and Panama, the organization is now looking to fund other community-led land rights initiatives. The Tenure Facility plans to invest at least $10 million a year for the first 10 years, and selects eligible projects based on recommendations from networks already working in the sector.

Watch the video above to learn more from local leaders in Indonesia, Peru, and Mali on how the Tenure Facility has strengthened land rights in their communities.

How can the international community come together to tackle the inequality and the marginalization of women, indigenous peoples, and rural communities? Devex and our partner, the Rights and Resources Initiative, are exploring the initiatives supporting land and resource rights and the role of stakeholders across sectors to partner for impact. 

About the authors

  • Naomi Mihara

    Naomi Mihara is a Video Journalist for Devex, based in Barcelona. She has a background in journalism and international development, having previously worked as an assistant correspondent for Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and as a communications officer for the International Organization for Migration in Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University.
  • Helen Morgan

    Helen Morgan is an Associate Editor at Devex. She has a background in human rights, radio and journalism, and has written for a variety of international publications while living and working in Buenos Aires, New York and Shanghai. She is now based in Barcelona and supports editorial content on campaigns and media partnerships at Devex. She is currently studying a master's degree in contemporary migration.