At the Tenure Facility our goal is for Indigenous and local communities to thrive and expand the sustainable management and protection of their forests and lands across the developing world—for the betterment of themselves and the global society.
We aim to achieve two outcomes: 1) The land and forest rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities are made more secure by governments in targeted developing countries; and 2) Practical approaches for implementing land and forest tenure reforms are shared and leveraged by practitioners and stakeholders to enable greater support and investment in securing the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
We aim to invest at least US$10 million a year for the first 10 years. Projections suggest that this investment would increase titled, protected, and well-managed community and indigenous tropical forest land by 42 to 91 million hectares. This increase in tenure security would help to prevent about 1 to 2.5 million hectares of deforestation, and mitigate climate change by avoiding emission of 0.5 to 1.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Already, with Tenure Facility support, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have advanced collective tenure security over almost 1,800,000 hectares of land and forest and strengthened defence of an additional 800,000 hectares of forest categorized as a reserve for Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation. In addition, they have tested new approaches to securing community tenure rights with governments, demonstrated cost-effective methods for securing tenure at scale, and shown how securing tenure can reduce conflict—setting the stage for peace and prosperity. The Tenure Facility’s six pilot projects prove that with funding and technical support Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ organizations can achieve significant results in securing tenure rights in a short period of time. The pilots have also helped to shape the responsiveness and effectiveness of the Tenure Facility by generating valuable lessons for improving operations and services.
In Cameroon, NGOs advanced land tenure security by developing and securing broad support for a standard methodology for participatory community mapping across different ecosystems and culture—in 22 months. The methodology lays important groundwork for explicit recognition of community rights and reduction of land and resource conflicts in Cameroon as the country implements new land use planning. If scaled nationwide, the methodology could secure community rights over more than 5 million hectares within five years.
“There are many problems this approach can solve! The problems are there. We are working on this to forestall future problems and to avoid conflict. Thanks to all those who have made this dream come true. How do we carry this pilot forward? We must go all the way! This exercise is the salvation for many conflicts between administrations.”
– Chief Tanyi Robinson, National Council for Traditional Chiefs in Cameroon (CNCTC)
In Indonesia, AMAN advanced titling over 1.5 million hectares of land belonging to 450 indigenous communities and achieved recognition of 66,300 hectares—in 30 months. AMAN’s achievement set the stage for faster and more efficient recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands and forests by demonstrating how district legislation can fill policy gaps at the national level and build momentum for national tenure policy for Indigenous Peoples’ territorial rights (adat), contributing to a bottom-up push for a national-level approach. Through peer-to-peer exchanges, they ignited a movement that is spreading from district to district as local authorities adopt the approach of using local legislation to secure Indigenous Peoples’ land and forest rights.
“Indigenous People’s rights and related regulations…being talked about and discussed in public places.”
– Rukka Sombolinggi, Secretary General, AMAN
In Liberia, a coalition of NGOs and the national land agency tested and refined a practical and scalable guideline to enable local communities to self-identify—in 21 months. Community self-identification is the first step in Liberia’s new Land Rights Policy and enables communities to gain collective title to their customary land. This project also built trust between NGOs and national government and enhanced the capacities of both for implementing the guideline nationwide.
“While there have been some issues…the trust, mutual understanding, and communication channels developed through the pilot project represent major assets for further developing the relationship with CSOs, and jointly move forward in the recognition of community customary lands.”
– Othello Brandy, Chair of the Liberian Land Authority
In Mali, the National Association of Peasant Organizations (CNOP) and HELVETAS MALI strengthened the capacity of 17 local land commissions to resolve conflict over land and resources in communities located far from the nation’s capital—in 22 months. Participating village land commissions reduced conflict by 35% and participating municipalities by 25%. The pilot contributed to achievement of the 2017 Peace Accords by pioneering, testing and demonstrating scalable approaches and tools that rural municipalities and local communities can use to resolve conflicts among themselves and with government, investors, immigrants and settlers. The pilot sets the stage for scaling the success of land commissions across the country. By supporting and learning from the experiences of land commissions in the south, where conflict is more localized, the learning can be scaled to areas where conflict is more prevalent and widespread, particularly in the north.
“The Tenure Facility pilot in Mali is strengthening national reconciliation and peace. Commissions help to calm the country. The pilot started in accessible areas in southern Mali, with a level of security that allows for movement on the ground. Based on the experience gained in these areas, we plan to expand project activities in the more volatile and conflict-prone part of the country.”
– Célestin Dembélé, Deputy program diretor, HELVETAS MALI
In Panama, COONAPIP advanced titling of 223,500 hectares in four territories and resolved 18 tenure conflicts over 1,200 hectares—in 20 months. The national association of indigenous organizations also trained more than 250 people in indigenous rights and law, built its own capacity for tenure implementation and established a course on indigenous rights at the University of Panama’s Faculty of Law. The pilot built momentum for faster and more efficient titling by raising awareness of Indigenous Peoples´ rights among government authorities, building relationships among relevant institutions and increasing the confidence of Indigenous Peoples in their power to effect change.
“We have been fighting the titling of our territory for more than 40 years. In the last year, with the support of COONAPIP’s PDCT project, we have advanced more than in the previous 40 years.”
– Lazaro Mecha, Regional chief, Majé Emberá Drüa collective territory
In Peru, FENAMAD and SPDA secured titles for five indigenous communities covering 60,000 hectares and signed an agreement with the Ministry of Culture that strengthens systems for protecting peoples in voluntary isolation in the Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve, which covers more than 800,000 hectare—in 18 months. FENAMAD, SPDA, and the Regional Government of Madre de Dios tested a unique partnership between an indigenous federation, an NGO, and a regional government that can be scaled to resolve longstanding conflicts over land tenure and implementation problems throughout the country.
“In the past, the indigenous territories in Madre de Dios were quite extensive. Unfortunately, our titles did not recognize the full extent of our lands, and we were limited in many ways. We withstood the pressures of miners, invading settlers and authorities who still do not understand the principles by which we live. Historically, we have been the caretakers of all the territory and of all the resources. Our work is of great importance, and not an obstacle to development of the country.”
– Julio Ricardo Cusurichi, President, FENAMAD