Securing land for Indigenous Peoples — for justice and our climate
Tenure Facility will support Indigenous Peoples to secure and defend 50 million hectares of forests
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The destruction of forests is intensifying, as are the adverse effects it has on climate change. In 2020, deforestation exceeded the average rate of the last 20 years. Forests are some of our oldest, most natural allies in mitigating climate change — they produce approximately 20% of our oxygen and store the carbon equivalent of 90 years of global fossil fuel emissions. If the loss of our world’s forests continues unabated, we will release more than three trillion tons of carbon dioxide. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are on the frontlines of this fight against environmental destruction. While they live on 50% of the world’s land, they only hold formal legal ownership to 10% of it. Securing land rights for Indigenous Peoples is a viable,cost-effective way to protect the world’s forests that we haven’t tried at scale. Too often, the legal frameworks for Indigenous land rights are underutilized, misunderstood and poorly enforced.
Land tenure describes the relationships between peoples, land and resources, including defining how property rights are allocated and managed. Ensuring Indigenous land rights leads to two to three times less deforestation, increased levels of biodiversity and reduced emissions — making this approach more effective than virtually any other strategy. The Tenure Facility was conceived of by and for Indigenous Peoples, and exists to overcome the barriers Indigenous Peoples face in securing land tenure. Over five years, Tenure Facility will support Indigenous Peoples and local communities to secure 50 million hectares of forests in Amazonia, the Congo Basin and tropical Asia — the largest expansion of land rights led by a single organization in modern history. They will empower 15 million peoples who inhabit these lands and prevent 140 million metric tons of carbon from being released into the atmosphere over a decade, moving us closer to averting climate disaster and paving the way to a more equitable and thriving natural world.
Tenure Facility will scale from 13 existing projects to 48 projects across over 20 countries by 2026. Their plan has three core components — source, secure and sustain. First, they source projects and build trust with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, leveraging their extensive regional and international Indigenous networks to identify communities that might benefit most from their support. Next, they secure land rights, working in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to agree on shared goals, engage governments, map boundaries and strengthen local governance. Finally, they work to sustain long-term stewardship and forge pathways to economic independence with communities. Through the collection of shared learnings, Tenure Facility also leverages global insights and data to push for policy that will support Indigenous-led climate resilience strategies and the enforcement of tenure laws.
Why will this succeed?
Tenure Facility is the only international organization focused on securing land rights governed by Indigenous Peoples. Their model is shaped by directing timely and targeted support, funding and technical assistance to local partners, to implement locally-led pathways to tenure. Since its launch in 2015, Tenure Facility has advanced collective tenure security for 14 million hectares of land, benefitting millions of people in 13 countries. They are trusted partners for Indigenous Peoples across the globe, and have successfully leveraged their connections to Indigenous leaders and representatives from the World Bank, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to advance their goals.