The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility was formally launched in Stockholm on 3 October at ‘Development Talks’, sponsored by Sida. The event opened the ‘International Conference Series on Community Land and Resource Rights: Scaling Up Efforts and Action’, organized by the Rights and Resources Coalition.
“Inequality is the greatest challenge of our time and we can measure its detrimental effects on the economic, social and environmental progress across the globe,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, at the launch of the Tenure Facility. “Strengthening and enforcing the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to manage their own forests and lands rebalances the equation. By focusing on this issue, the global community has the ability to address climate change and entrenched poverty, promote sustainable development, and even achieve a lasting peace in places suffering some of the world’s most unrelenting conflicts.”
Initial results from the Tenure Facility’s first round of projects released during the day revealed the power of Indigenous Peoples and local communities to secure their own rights and manage and protect the world’s precious natural resources, and the power of collaboration with supportive governments to accelerate and scale-up the implementation of progressive laws and policies.
Through pilot projects funded by the Tenure Facility in its ‘incubation phase’ Indigenous Peoples and local communities advanced their rights over almost 2 million hectares of forest in six countries.
“Research shows time and time again that Indigenous Peoples are the best stewards of their lands, and have been tirelessly maintaining the resources we all depend on for centuries,” said Nonette Royo, the Tenure Facility’s new executive director.
The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) created the Tenure Facility to leverage greater levels of financial support for projects that scale-up the recognition of collective land and forest rights globally. RRI began considering the idea of creating the Tenure Facility in 2010. Over the next four years RRI explored design options, consulted with key actors, and appraised different concepts. In 2014, RRI decided on a final design and began establishing and ‘incubating’ the Tenure Facility. During this incubation period, the Tenure Facility executed six strategically chosen pilot projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to test and refine its operational niche and approaches. In 2017, the Tenure Facility became an independent non-profit foundation registered in Stockholm, Sweden. It coordinates with RRI Partners, affiliated networks, and initiatives such as the Interlaken Group and MegaFlorestais to leverage support for implementation of land and forest rights.
Visit Sida’s Development Talk on land rights for peace, gender equality and climate change here: