Photo: UN Women/Deepika Nath (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED)
Communities and Indigenous Peoples are estimated to hold 65% of the world's land area under customary systems. However, just 18% of this land area was formally recognized as owned or controlled by these groups.
In the run up to COP28, the Land Portal Foundation has published a completely revised and updated Indigenous and Communities Land Rights thematic portfolio. While world leaders attending COP28 have recognized the important role of indigenous communities in the fight against climate change, most governments have failed to live up to their commitments.
The portfolio covers a wide range of topics, including the impact of legal and policy frameworks at the international and national levels, as well as regional case studies that provide a real-world context for these issues.
Although many laws and policies exist to protect indigenous land rights across continents, they are not always enforced. For example, emerging conflicts have been observed with conservation initiatives that have failed to respect the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples or to protect their rights. This is a true paradox for a group whose lands have historically contributed to halting environmental degradation and mitigating climate change.
The portfolio underscores the vital role that indigenous and local communities play in climate change mitigation and adaptation. It emphasizes that these communities are often the most effective stewards of natural resources and biodiversity, and that global climate change efforts should recognize their traditional principles and customary laws in managing lands and resources.
As we look forward to the discussions at COP28, this portfolio serves as a reminder of the need for meaningful engagement with indigenous and local communities. It calls for a reevaluation of current strategies, like the global system of tradable carbon credits, and highlights the significance of traditional knowledge and practices in sustainable land and resource management.
This and much more can be explored in the updated thematic portfolio. We hope you enjoy reading it!
Meet the Authors
Dr. Rick de Satgé
Author of the Indigenous and Community Land Rights Portfolio
Country Research & Engagement Consultant, Land Portal Foundation
Peer-reviewer of the Indigenous and Community Land Rights Portfolio
Documentation and Communications Manager, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)