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.


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    Latest News

    18 October 2017

    Pipeline company downplaying major legal and financial risks of crossing unceded First Nations territory in British Columbia

    18 October 2017

    The community council in the area has repeatedly denounced human rights violations against the Afro-Colombian, Mestizo and Indigenous peasants in the region.

    A Colombian social leader, Jose Jair Cortes, was murdered in a rural area of Tumaco municipality located in the southwest department of Narino. 

    Jair Cortes, a member of the local council of the Alto Mira and Frontera Community, was killed in a sector called Y, located in the heart of the city of Tumaco. The social leader was one of seven community leaders to receive death threats in recent months. 

    18 October 2017

    The third-generation farmers question alleged discrepancy in issuance of permits among different parties to operate on the land.

    CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Several farmers from Blue Valley here are seeking a meeting with Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob over their decades-long bid to obtain land permits from the state for their farms and homes.

    18 October 2017

    The International day of Rural Women, which we celebrate today, is an annual event to recognise the role women play in agriculture and rural development.

    In Kenya where the foundation of most communities is agriculture and livestock production, women contribute up to 80 per cent of workforce yet they only hold 1 per cent of registered land in their names and around 5-6 per cent of registered titles are held in joint names (Kenya Land Alliance, 2013).

    Latest Blogs

    Salme Village beside the Solu River, on the right is the newly built bridge over the river. It is located in Nuwakot District, Nepal. Asian Development Bank.

    By Andy White, Coordinator of the Rights and Resources Initiative

    •	Women in Burlobo community, Northern Uganda, use a satellite map to draw sketch maps of their land, with the help of  the Land and Equity Movement in Uganda (LEMU).
    Sierra Leone

    By Rachael Knight, Senior Advisor, Community Land Protection, Namati

    Latest Events

    11 October 2017 to 14 October 2017


    Viana do Castelo
    United States

    Desde a sua fundação, em 1984, a Sociedade Portuguesa de Ciências Florestais tem vindo a desenvolver diversas actividades no sentido de fomentar o estudo e progresso da ciência e da técnica florestal entre as quais se destaca a organização dos Congressos Florestais Nacionais.

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



    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.

    18 September 2017


    United States

    Presented by: Land Portal Foundation, Global Land Tool Network (GLTN), and the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Thematic Network on Good Governance of Extractive and Land Resources

    Please register here.


    20 June 2017 to 14 July 2017
    Malcolm Childress

    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
    Natalia Scurrah
    Terry Parnell

    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
    Nicholas Tagliarino
    Marcello Demaria

    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
    Alejandro Diez
    Sergio Coronado
    Juan Pablo Chumacero
    Latin America and the Caribbean
    South America

    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.



    Displaying 1 - 6 of 1702
    Reports & Research
    October 2017

    Este relatório considera um dos aspectos práticos mais importantes da participação
    local na Lei de Terras e outra legislação sobre recursos naturais: a consulta
    comunitária, através da qual os estranhos – o Estado, novos investidores, empresas
    madeireiras, grupos de hotéis – obtêm acesso à terra e recursos locais com a

    Policy Papers & Briefs
    October 2017
    Latin America and the Caribbean

    Legally recognized and secure land and resource rights are fundamental to the advancement of global peace, prosperity, and sustainability. From the development of human cultures to the realization of democracy itself, tenure security underpins the very fabric of human society and our relationship to the natural environment. Today, insecure tenure rights threaten the livelihoods and wellbeing of a third of the world’s population, and with it, the very future of our planet.

    Reports & Research
    October 2017

    Este trabalho tem como objectivo identificar as realizações e constrangimentos das famílias dentro dos processos de desenvolvimento rural. As comunidades estudadas em Pebane apresentam limitações semelhantes nas principais actividades realizadas pelas famílias locais, fundamentalmente caracterizadas pela produção agrícola e pesqueira de espécies de baixo rendimento, insuficiência de insumos, falta de capital financeiro para investir e baixo nível tecnológico.

    Manuals & Guidelines
    October 2017
    South Africa

    Municipal commonage, used as a common resource for communities, poses a unique opportunity for rural development and land and agrarian reform. The law says that municipal commonage must be used to contribute towards land reform. It must be made available for agricultural purposes to those who were previously excluded from accessing commonages.

    Poor town residents who want to engage in agricultural activities must therefore organise to demand access to municipal commonage. This booklet will help you to understand the law, access commonage and use commonage. 

    Reports & Research
    October 2017

    This report is a product of a partnership between Terra Firma and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), contributing to a study of changing land access in sub-Saharan Africa supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

    Reports & Research
    September 2017
    Burkina Faso

    Le développement de l’irrigation fait partie des stratégies prioritaires dans les pays du Sahel pour lutter contre la pauvreté et l’insécurité alimentaire. À l’heure où les gouvernements s’engagent, une fois de plus, à augmenter les superficies irrigables, il a semblé pertinent d’analyser, conformément aux lignes directrices de la CEDEAO, les résultats obtenus sur des grands périmètres aménagés dans les années 80 et 90 afin d’en tirer les leçons pour les aménagements futurs.