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Agriculture and natural resources governance - Legal tools for inclusive and sustainable transformation

Legal Brief No. 12








Gobena, A. and Vidar, M. 2023. Agriculture and natural resources governance – Legal tools for inclusive and sustainable transformation. Legal Brief, No. 12. Rome, FAO.



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    Highlights from the international workshop “Legal Empowerment for Securing Land Rights” Accra,Ghana, 13th-14th March 2008
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    Land lies at the heart of social, political and economic life in much of rural Africa. It provides a major source of livelihoods, income and employment; a basis for social and political relations; and has major historical, cultural and spiritual significance. In many places, rapid socio-economic changes are undermining the security of land access for poorer and more vulnerable groups – particularly in high-value lands such as peri-urban areas, irrigated schemes and fertile lands. Securing land a ccess for these groups is important in providing economic opportunities and/or social safety nets, as well as addressing broader issues of governance, equity, environmental sustainability and social identity. Recent years have witnessed growing interest and debates about legal empowerment as a strategy for securing land rights in Africa. Legal empowerment has featured high on the international development agenda – as evidenced by the establishment of a UN-hosted Commission on Legal Empowerment o f the Poor. IIED, FAO and the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana jointly organised an international workshop to allow practitioners to exchange their experience and share the lessons learned, and to feed insights from the wealth of innovation on the ground into international processes. The workshop took place in Accra on the 13th and 14th of March 2008, bringing together some 25 practitioners from different parts of Africa, as well as a few practitioners and researchers from international in stitutions and Europe. Workshop participants shared a broad range of approaches, tools and methods for legal empowerment.
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    Liberalizing tree plantation policies in the Philippines
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    The Philippine forestry sector is in a bad shape. Despite the policies to protect forests, overregulation has negatively impacted the country’s capacity to produce wood. Harvest and transport rules in tree plantation development are too restrictive up to the point that it becomes a disincentive to wood producers. A solution is to liberalize said regulations to encourage investments in tree plantation development.Current regulations protect natural and residual forests and has banned logging in these areas. As such, forest product such as logs, timber and lumber can only be sourced from tree plantations. About 75% of the country’s wood requirements are from imported sources. And despite of its potential, only a few are engaged in the establishment of tree plantations.A study was conducted by the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) to determine why people do not invest in forestry. It also looks on tree plantation development as an alternative to harvesting in the natural forests and as an excellent opportunity to supply the wood requirements of the country, spur economic and inclusive growth, and promote sustainable development.The study employed the Development Entrepreneurship (DE), a development model where technically sound and politically feasible bite-size solutions, packaged as policy reforms, are pursued. Technical soundness determines whether the reform is 1) transformative (is the reform likely to change the incentives and behavior of people and organizations sufficiently, so outcomes improve); 2) scalable (is change likely to spread well beyond the initial project site); and 3)sustainable (is the reform likely to continue without additional donor support). On the other hand, politically feasible, refers to the likelihood that the reform will be advocated by government champions and be accepted by existing political actors and environment. The model in a nutshell, means getting the right reform to the right person to get the right results.The proposals of the study were adopted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order (DAO) 2020-18, or “Promoting Tree Plantation Development and Liberalizing Harvesting and Transport of Planted Trees and Tree Derivatives for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development“ last December 17, 2020. Prior to harvest of trees, the 100% inventory requirement was removed in private plantations and reduced to 5% requirement in State-owned forest lands. For transport, instead of securing several documents, a certification tating that the trees are from legal sources is sufficient. Keywords: Economic Development, Policies, Sustainable forest management, Decent employment, Governance ID: 3619348
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    This info-brief summarized key findings and presents case studies related to the status quo of REDD+ countries’ legislation and existing arrangements related to carbon rights, in light of relevant international schemes and standards. So far, claims to participate in REDD+ are often based on the concept of ‘carbon rights’ or `emissions reductions title´, and clear and “uncontested” entitlement to REDD+ results is often a condition for accessing Result-based-Payments (RBPs). However, as there is no one internationally adopted definition of carbon rights or ERs title, emphasis is made on the requirements established by international standards/schemes for REDD+ countries to progress in legislating on the matter. The brief also identifies challenges as countries are progressing in finding legal solutions to clarify carbon and benefit rights, summarizing preliminary key findings and case studies that will be included in the UN-REDD global study on carbon rights which will be finalized in May 2022 (ready for review). In general terms, legislation only rarely directly regulates emission reduction titling or entitlements to REDD+ benefits. In these cases, forest tenure and ownership of forest resources often provides a basis to understand also who owns carbon stored in forests and who can claim REDD+ benefits. Overall, more clarity surrounding emission reduction rights is often still needed, as a more stable enabling environment that affords legal protection to contracting parties would stimulate investments in REDD+, and protect vulnerable groups. Legal solutions will often go hand-in-hand with discussion on benefit sharing, and on necessary infrastructure such as registries for mitigation actions – or for transferring carbon credits.

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