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Land Rights Crucial to Saving Tropical Forests

The world’s tropical forests are a key part of slowing climate change, and ensuring indigenous peoples have land rights is essential to protecting them, US-based researchers say.

A campaign group, Global Witness, puts the number of land and environment activists killed since the end of 2009 at around 650. It says most died fighting to protect remote land from development which had been approved by governments.

Speaking in New York as world leaders gathered there to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, the administrator of the UN Development Programme, Helen Clark, said: “If we want to protect the world’s forests, we must safeguard the rights of the indigenous peoples and forest communities who have sustainably managed their forests for generations.

“Clarifying local land rights and tenure security will be a crucial determinant of success for the new global frameworks on climate change and sustainable development.”

She was speaking at an event organised jointly by the UNDP and the Ford Foundation to mark the signing of the Agreement.

Youssef Shoufan

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