Landesa and Proforest have today launched new guidance for practitioners entitled Respecting the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Landscape Initiatives: A Guide for Practitioners on Minimum Safeguards and Best Practices. This publication is the result of 18 months of collaborative work interviewing seven landscape initiatives and holding follow up workshops, including a knowledge exchange week in Ghana in 2022 where both organisations visited the Asunafo-Asutifi landscape initiative in the Ahafo region.
Many challenges, such as deforestation, water management, land conflicts, labour rights, and smallholder support require collective action to address them in a meaningful way. Landscape initiatives provide an avenue for bringing together government, local communities, producers, civil society, and supply chain companies to collaborate on delivering positive environmental and social outcomes at scale.
Respect for human rights is a key element of any landscape initiative. One in three people depend on communal land for their wellbeing and livelihoods. Moreover, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) own or govern at least 32% of the world’s land, the locations of many landscape initiatives include IPLCs as both key rights-holders and stakeholders.
Respect for IPLC rights and participation is crucial for any landscape initiative’s success. Ensuring their rights, particularly those linked to land and natural resources, is a cornerstone for realisation of the human rights of local people as well as for environmental conservation and climate change mitigation globally. Indigenous Peoples and local communities are critical stewards and protectors of land and forests, and secure community land and resource rights foster conservation and sustainable management of those resources.
This guidance is a resource for planners and implementers of landscape initiatives and suggests practical approaches to ensuring IPLC participation in, or ownership of, decisions in landscape initiatives at various key steps.
Download the publication here.