Indigenous & Community Land Rights

Secure community land rights are an essential condition for Indigenous Peoples and local communities to enjoy human rights, socio-economic development, and cultural protection.

With secure land tenure, Indigenous Peoples and local communities can realize human rights, achieve economic growth, protect the environment, and maintain cultural integrity.

For centuries, Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs) have used, managed and depended on collectively-held land for food supplies, cultural and spiritual traditions, and other livelihood needs. Historically governed through customary tenure systems rooted in community norms and practices that often go back centuries, governments often consider such community land as vacant, idle, or state-owned property.  Statutory recognition and protection of indigenous and community land rights continues to be a major challenge [1].

The gap between formally recognized and customarily held and managed land is a significant source of underdevelopment, conflict, and environmental degradation [2]. Strong rights to land are vital for Indigenous Peoples and local communities. When community land rights are weak, such areas are vulnerable to land grabbing, expropriation without compensation, and encroachment by outsiders [3]. Without secure tenure rights [4], meaning rights that are enforceable and recognized by governments and others, communities face increased risk of poverty, poor health, and human rights abuse. Securing community tenure rights is not only crucial from a human rights and socio-economic development perspective, it is also necessary to mitigate climate change, foster sustainable development, and promote peacebuilding across the globe [5].

 

 

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

Indicators

Indicator
(Source)
Unit Year Obs Missing Values (%) Min Max Remove

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    Media

    Latest News

    15 August 2017
    United States of America

     

    Guam’s indigenous people have endured centuries of hostilities

    HAGATNA, Guam — The threatened missile attack by North Korea on Guam has prompted calls for peace from the island’s indigenous people, who are weary of yet another conflict after enduring centuries of hostilities.

    About one-third of the U.S. territory’s 160,000 people identify as Chamorro, the indigenous group that is believed to have migrated to Guam from Indonesia and the Philippines an estimated 3,500 to 4,000 years ago. It is believed to be one of the world’s first seaward migrations.

    9 August 2017
    Peru

    The Kichwa people of the San Martin region have traditionally occupied the upland forests which since 2005 were classified as the Regional Protected Area - Cerro Escalera by the regional government of San Martin. Today, many of these communities lack any secure rights to these forests and are regularly stopped and restricted from accessing its forest resources vital for their subsistence.

    15 August 2017
    Brazil
    • Last week, indigenous organizations and civil society bodies demonstrated widely against what they see as the Brazilian government’s on going moves to reduce Indian land rights, and to demand the government open a dialogue with indigenous representatives.
    • Of greatest concern is President Temer’s recommendation to approve the “marco temporal” a 1988 cut-off date for Indian occupation of traditional lands.
    9 August 2017
    Bangladesh

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted on September 13, 2007 at the 61st session of the General Assembly in the UN headquarters, New York City, United States. The UNDRIP is a landmark accomplishment for the member-states of the UN recognising the rights of the world's indigenous population. The declaration addresses both individual and collective rights, cultural rights and identity, rights to education, health, employment, language and others.

    Latest Blogs

    Sheep Grazing Commons Above Private Valley Farms, Adrigole, Ireland (Photo: Liz Alden Wily)
    Global
    Europe

    By Liz Alden Wily and Fabrice Dubertret, Members of the LandMark Operations Team.

    Do community-held lands thrive today in Europe? If so, what can communities in Asia, Africa and Latin America learn from their long experiences? This was the topic of a Practitioner Lab hosted by LandMark : the Global Platform of Indigenous and Community Lands at the XVI biennial conference of the International Association for Study of the Commons held in Utrecht on the 10th of July. A panel of four experts from Europe (Monica Vasile, Romania; Evelyn Dietsche, Germany; Rita Serra, Portugal; and Pedro Medrano, Spain) helped participants understand the realities of commons in their countries today. Pedro Medrano represented the Soria Forest Association of Spain, winner of the Elinor Ostrom Practitioner Award 2017.

    Goats getting ready for milking in the Khovd Province of Mongolia. Photo credit: © Eddie Game / The Nature Conservancy
    Global
    Mongolia
    Indonesia
    Australia

     

    By Yuta Masuda and Brian E. Robinson

    I’m sitting in a Mongolian yurt, listening to and trying to emulate Bataa’s* songs about love for the grasslands and the wide, treeless plains of the Mongolian Plateau. Our host sings with consuming passion. I might have brushed his enthusiasm off as a show two weeks ago. But after living and working in these grasslands, the feeling of freedom that comes from unobstructed, far-off distant horizon is infectious.

    South America
    Brazil

       |   19 .07. 2017   |   LINDSAY BIGDA, RRI COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER

    In Brazil, indigenous and Afro-descendant communities face unprecedented threats to their hard-won territorial and constitutional rights.

    Global

    By Mike Powell, Development Information Specialist, facilitator of monitoring and evaluative processes with the Land Portal and volunteer member of its Technical Advisory Group​

    Latest Events

    Walk for land rights, Chambal, India, 2009.
    4 October 2017 to 5 October 2017

    Location

    Stockholm
    Sweden
    SE
    Global

    Join us for the 3rd international conference on scaling-up global efforts to secure community land and resource rights.

    In 2013, leading Indigenous Peoples, community organizations, NGOs, governments, private companies, and investors met in Interlaken to devise strategies to scale up global efforts to secure community land and resource rights. Last September, we met in Bern to assess and establish a new baseline from which to measure global progress.

    10 July 2017 to 14 July 2017

    Location

    Utrecht
    Netherlands
    NL
    Global

    Welcome to IASC’s XVIth Biennial Conference in Utrecht in 2017! The ‘Institutions for Collective Action’ research team of Utrecht University as well as the researchers affiliated with Utrecht University’sStrategic Theme ‘Institutions for Open Societies’ are proud to jointly host the global XVI Biennial Conference, ‘Practicing the commons: Self-governance, cooperation, and institutional change’ of The International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC) in the historical city centre of Utrecht, 10-14 July 2017.

    22 June 2017 to 29 June 2017

    Location

    Kampala
    Uganda
    UG
    Global

     

    The 11th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (CBA11) will focus on harnessing natural resources and ecosystems for adaptation.

    The 11th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA11) to climate change will take place in Kampala, Uganda from 22-29 June 2017.

    Debates

    20 June 2017 to 14 July 2017
    Open
    Facilitators
    EverlyneNairesiae
    StaceyZammit
    Malcolm Childress
    Global

    From June 20th to July 14th, 2017, the Land Portal, in collaboration with GLTN/GLII, Land Alliance and LandAC, will co-facilitate a dialogue through which a variety of stakeholders will focus on discussions centered around measuring the perception of land tenure security in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

    13 February 2017 to 27 February 2017
    Closed
    Facilitators
    Natalia Scurrah
    Terry Parnell
    n.sorensen
    Cambodia
    Laos
    Myanmar
    Thailand
    Vietnam

    From 13-27 February 2017, the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project and the Land Portal co-facilitated an online dialogue on the Recognition of Customary Tenure in the Mekong Region.

    28 November 2016 to 23 December 2016
    Closed
    Facilitators
    Bjoern.Hoops
    Nicholas Tagliarino
    Marcello Demaria
    Global

    Land tenure changes are on the rise throughout the world as a result of increased migration from rural to urban areas, expansion of infrastructure, commercial pressures on agricultural land, extractive activities, and climate change. Shifts in land tenure arrangements are proceeding through compulsory acquisitions (i.e. expropriations) and voluntary market transactions, such large-scale land leases and concessions.

    23 October 2016 to 25 November 2016
    Closed
    Facilitators
    Alejandro Diez
    gonzalocolque
    Sergio Coronado
    Juan Pablo Chumacero
    Latin America and the Caribbean
    South America
    Argentina
    Bolivia
    Brazil
    Chile
    Colombia
    Ecuador
    Guyana
    Paraguay
    Peru
    Suriname
    Venezuela

    Generally, most rural land in the world has been in the hands of local peasant communities and indigenous peoples under customary land tenure systems; historically although, land ownership in rural areas, and natural resources contained in it, have been a source of tension between different actors with different ways to understand and take ownership. In this conflict of interest, usually rural and indigenous communities with collective forms of property, have lost out.

    Partners

    Library

    Displaying 1 - 6 of 1384
    LEGEND Land Policy Bulletin 8
    Policy Papers & Briefs
    August 2017

     

    The eighth issue of the LEGEND bulletin explores the relationship between agribusiness and land rights. It features articles on the power of local engagement for financial investment, using technology for mapping rights, and catalysing private sector respect for community land rights.

    The Land Policy Bulletins are produced by the Core Land Support Team (CLST) for DFID's programme on responsible invesment - Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND).

    Subscribe to the bulletin:

    Assessment of land governance
    Journal Articles & Books
    August 2017

    The purpose of the research is to assess the land governance system in preventing state land conflicts in Zambia. In order to obtain insights about the actual realities on the ground, based on a case study strategy (i.e. Lusaka District has a study area), the research examined the present status of state land governance system, and investigated the efficiency of the present state land governance system in preventing state land conflicts.

    The recognition of the customary land rights: lessons from the Province of Bié in Angola cover image
    Conference Papers & Reports
    July 2017

    Effective recognition of customary land rights is still a challenge in Angola, as in many other African countries. Despite customary land rights of the traditional rural communities are expressly recognized in the 2004 National Land Law, very few communities in Angola have been able to register their land. In the Province of Bié, in Angola central highlands, only five customary collective land titles (called Dominio Util Consuetudinario) had been issued within the period 2004-2015.

    Peer-reviewed publication
    July 2017

    Community-managed reserves (CMRs) comprise the fastest-growing category of protected areas throughout the tropics. CMRs represent a compromise between advocates of nature conservation and advocates of human development. We ask whether CMRs succeed in achieving the goals of either. A fixed reserve area can produce only a finite resource supply, whereas human populations exploiting them tend to expand rapidly while adopting high-impact technologies to satisfy rising aspirations. Intentions behind the establishment of CMRs may be admirable, but represent an ideal rarely achieved.

    Conference Papers & Reports
    July 2017

    The UN-Habitat, World Bank and the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) host of the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) 1 in collaboration with Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL)2 jointly hosted a side event titled Land Tenure Security Monitoring in the SDGs: Leaving no one behind at the 2 nd High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

    Reports & Research
    July 2017

    Land is an important source of identity and a precious asset with significant emotional connection in India. It is also the main source of rural and feudal power structure for most of India’s history. Land is a symbol of social status, cultural identity and an expression of political power. The value of land is deeply ingrained in the consciousness and well-being of the poor farmers and indigenous communities who make up a substantial portion of India’s total population.