Peru has made significant progress in recognizing the land and forest rights of Indigenous Peoples through laws—but limited progress implementing the titling of collective rights on the ground. Throughout Peru, indigenous communities have insecure land tenure and their lands and forests are threatened by tourism, mining, illegal logging, and infrastructure projects. These threats have resulted in decades of violent conflict.
According to the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), more than 20 million hectares of the Peruvian Amazon claimed by Indigenous Peoples remain untitled. The government has not met its legal commitments to recognize new territorial and communal reserves, title indigenous territories at the village level, and complete the demarcation and cadastral updating of more than 1,000 indigenous communities.
The lack of clear rights over their territories puts these communities at risk of losing the lands that sustain them, and weakens their position in contending with illegal logging and other threats to their lands. It also increases the risk of deforestation and the loss of their forests, which provide vital carbon storage and are key to combatting climate change.
Fifty-seven percent of Peru’s territory is forest, and much of that land is indigenous territory. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are the proven best stewards of the Amazon rainforest. Peer-reviewed research shows that titling community lands in the Peruvian Amazon led to an immediate and significant reduction in deforestation. Titling indigenous territories therefore represents a tremendous opportunity to contribute to the fight against climate change. Securing tenure will also reduce the conflicts that have plagued Peru and set the stage for sustainable and equitable development.
The Tenure Facility pilot project, completed in 2017, accelerated tenure security for Indigenous Peoples, defended the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation or Initial Contact (PIACVI), resolved land conflicts and fostered good forest management in partnership with the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) and the Regional Government of Madre de Dios (GOREMAD). It tested a unique partnership between an Indigenous Peoples’ federation, an NGO and a regional government that can be scaled up to resolve longstanding conflicts over land tenure throughout the country.
To learn more about the pilot project, see below.