Will #COP21 negotiators tackle land rights issues?

Peter Veit, director of the Land and Resource Rights Initiative at the World Resources Institute, talks land rights and COP21 with Devex senior global development reporter Michael Igoe.

So far at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, renewable energy initiatives are stealing the headlines. But as negotiators comb through the details of the expected Paris climate agreement, they will confront a range of challenges — and opportunities — to keep carbon in the ground.

Land is one such issue and Peter Veit, director of the Land and Resource Rights Initiative at the World Resources Institute, had a key message for negotiators.

“When you put your climate commitments together, consider securing rights as a climate mitigation strategy,” he told Devex.

Secure land rights also feed better climate change adaptation practices and people who feel secure in their right to live and work on land are more likely to make positive investments in it, he added.

Connections between secure land rights and positive climate outcomes are clear, but what’s less certain is the role that land will play in the eventual outcome of the COP21 negotiations.

“Now the challenge is to try to reach the climate community … with the hope that securing rights is a recognized climate mitigation strategy by the negotiators, is recognized in the national-level contributions that countries make, and is recognized as a sound investment by the new climate funds, including the Green Climate Fund,” Veit said.

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About the author

  • Michael Igoe

    Michael Igoe is a Senior Reporter with Devex, based in Washington, D.C. He covers U.S. foreign aid, global health, climate change, and development finance. Prior to joining Devex, Michael researched water management and climate change adaptation in post-Soviet Central Asia, where he also wrote for EurasiaNet. Michael earned his bachelor's degree from Bowdoin College, where he majored in Russian, and his master’s degree from the University of Montana, where he studied international conservation and development.