Monday, September 23, 2013

International Experts Discuss Opportunities for Securing Local Community Land Rights

20 September 2013: The conference on 'Scaling-Up Strategies to Secure Community Land and Resource Rights: An International Conference to Take Stock of Current Efforts, Identify Promising Strategies, and Catalyze New Alliances and Action' concluded with participants from across 40 countries calling for a doubling of the amount of secured community land over the next five years.

The conference, which was took place from 19-20 September 2013, in Interlaken, Switzerland, brought together over 180 participants representing governments, local communities, Indigenous Peoples' organizations, private investors, food and resource companies, and conservation organizations, all of which have a common interest in clarifying and securing the ownership of community lands and resources.

The event aimed to raise the profile and prioritization of community land rights as a global concern, catalyze new ideas and alliances, and secure commitments to take these strategies forward in the coming months and years. Participants met in plenary and in strategy sessions to discuss themes related to: securing community land and resource rights; mapping and documenting; improving legal recognition and empowerment; expanding and leveraging private sector interests in securing community land rights; making community land rights a global priority; and deepening synergies between community land and resource rights and conservation efforts.

The main priorities that emerged from the sessions, as well as opportunities for scaling up existing opportunities and recommended next steps, included: starting the restitution of indigenous lands from conservation areas; striving to reach the target of doubling the amount of secured community lands; improving the effectiveness of existing instruments to secure rights; using maps effectively to secure rights; and improving internal community governance.

The meeting was co-organized by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the International Land Coalition (ILC), Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation and Oxfam. [Meeting Website] [IISD RS Meeting Coverage]