The ‘age of ignorance’
For a long time land governance, land tenure and land rights remained in the ‘age of ignorance’. We have known for some time that land governance is a key ingredient for social, economic and environmental development; what was missing, however, was the data. With the little information available to us at the time, we set priorities and crafted interventions for our course of work. Relying on a few rough figures meant that we were often repeating mantras and slogans based on loose, rather than on hard and reliable facts. Most notable among these was the often repeated and now widely disputed, “women own 2% of the world’s land”.
This is the first installment of WRI’s blog series, New Perspectives on Restoration. The series aims to share WRI’s views on restoration, dispel myths, and explore restoration opportunities throughout the world.
Almost half of the world’s original forests have been cleared or degraded. So naturally, most people think of the “forest restoration” movement as an effort to re-plant these lost trees.
Across the globe, indigenous and rural women make invaluable contributions to their communities and toward global sustainable development and climate goals. They use, manage, and conserve the community territories that comprise over 50 percent of the world’s land and support up to 2.5 billion people.
By Chris Hufstader
After an audacious land grab by a foreign company, indigenous women in a remote Cambodian village struggle to regain their farms and sacred sites.
Sol Preng remembers vividly the day in 2012 when bulldozers unexpectedly arrived on her family farm.
“The company came and cleared away our cashew trees right before the harvest,” she says. “I lost four hectares of land and all my cashew trees.”
I recently traveled to the highlands of Peru. Every woman I met there seemed to be doing something with wool: spinning it, or knitting or crocheting skirts, sweaters, and scarves. I was fascinated by the activity, as a sometimes knitter myself, but when I asked to take pictures of them they reacted with confusion at my interest. In their minds, they were not doing anything remarkable or picture worthy, just the daily work they needed to get done.
Improving how we work for – and with – indigenous and local women in their communities
As a human rights organisation, gender justice is a fundamental principle of our work, and we have long been conscious of, and sought to address, the barriers to effective participation in decision-making by women, as well as the other human rights violations they may face on account of their gender.