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FAO's work with indigenous peoples in forestry










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    Book (stand-alone)
    Tenure of indigenous peoples territories and REDD+ as a forestry management incentive: the case of Mesoamerican countries
    UN-REDD Programme
    2013
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    Programmes to reduce emissions from deforestation and ecosystem degradation, such as REDD+ and other forestry incentive programmes, including Payment for Environmental Services (PES), could represent an opportunity to strengthen processes of conservation, sustainable usage and poverty reduction in the Mesoamerican region, particularly in indigenous territories and communities. Analysing the context of such initiatives and how they are interlinked is relevant to understanding how these mu ltipurpose programmes can achieve their objectives in the light of recent developments in the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights over land tenure and natural resources in the region. Examining these contexts and their linkages in countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama, where there are considerable forest areas with significant indigenous populations, is the aim of this study.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Women’s land rights and agrarian change: Evidence from indigenous communities in Cambodia 2019
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    Current changes in land tenure in Cambodia are reshaping indigenous communities agrarian and socio-economic systems. Customary laws that have determined land usage and rights, are now undergoing profound transformations. The commodification of land, influenced by processes of dispossession and alienation, is reshaping communities’ norms and customs. Land, before freely available to users, is now substantially a private asset and as such transferred from one generation to the next one like other assets. Customary laws derive their legitimacy from social systems that are context specific and change with time. This determines their ambiguous character as instruments for resistance and self-determination as well as generators of unequal social relations in rural communities. The experiences from other continents and countries have shown the contradictory and often conflicting linkage between customary land rights and women’s rights to own land. This study analysis the customary inheritance system of indigenous groups in Northern Cambodia, prevalently centred around matrilineal or bilateral kinship, where women used to inherit and own the principal family assets. The research questions focus on indigenous women’s inheritance and property rights as they apply to land, in the context of increasing land commoditization and scarcity. The aim of the enquiry is to contribute to the understanding of the gender implications of these changes, by gaining insight about women’s position vis-à-vis land property, inheritance and transfer to new generations. The changes in land tenure that have occurred in Ratanakiri province during the last decades have resulted in a substantial alienation of land and resources formerly available to indigenous people. Consequently, the area farmed under shifting cultivation has significantly decreased and been replaced by permanent commercial crops, while the increasing monetization of communities’ economy has triggered new processes of social differentiation. Little support has been given to indigenous farmers in order to manage this transition and adapt their farming system while maintaining its sustainability. The legal instruments deriving from the Land Law, which in theory should have contributed to provide formal legal protecting to indigenous land and allow communities to continue using land according to their traditional tenure system were impaired by delays and the obstacles in the practical implementation of the law. External actors, institutional as well as non-governmental, have been actively promoting agricultural practices centred on rapid gains, unsustainable exploitation of land and forest, carpet introduction of monocultures without creating the conditions for the establishment of favourable value chains and market conditions. The changes that have taken place have important implications in terms of women’s role and status within communities: not only because of the farming system transition, but also as a consequence of the increasing influence of the mainstream culture, in which gender norms are more hierarchical and constrictive then the ones in use among the indigenous peoples targeted by this study. Following the evidence presented here, strengthening indigenous women land rights may result from a multipurpose approach that embraces different areas of interventions and actors, detailed in the recommendations provided.
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    Policy brief
    COVID-19, land, natural resources, gender issues and Indigenous Peoples' rights in Asia 2022
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    Secure tenure rights and meaningful participation in the management of land, territories and natural resources are a key element for the food security of Indigenous Peoples, who often rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Indigenous Peoples have a strong cultural, spiritual, social and economic connection with their land, which is closely linked to their identity and existence itself. Land and natural resources tenure security is also at the core of human rights’ enjoyment among Indigenous Peoples. Their right to food, shelter and an adequate standard of living – just to name a few – are closely linked to secure tenure rights. Furthermore, Indigenous Peoples play a critical role ensuring sustainable development and biodiversity conservation, and their land tenure security is closely associated with that. Before the pandemic, forced evictions and conflicts over their land, territories and resources were already driving Indigenous Peoples into poverty and vulnerability. The COVID-19 crisis has led to reports of encroachment upon indigenous land, creating hardship during an especially difficult time and placing Indigenous Peoples in a precarious situation. In this context, this brief asks specifically what impact COVID-19 is having on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, especially women, elaborating on how challenges could be overcome leaving no one behind.

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