With increased attention to forest conservation, especially in the context of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+), issues of tenure insecurity of Indigenous Peoples in forest areas are increasingly recognised. Despite this attention, there has been little comprehensive information on legislation and policy to address these challenges. To address this gap, the Rights and Resources Initiative has produced a review of national legislation related to Indigenous Peoples’ forest tenure rights in 27 nations. The countries reviewed are home to 2.2 billion rural people and include as much as 75% of the developing world’s forest cover.
The review reveals that there has been a dramatic increase in legislation that recognises rights since 1992, as well as a significant increase in the amount of land owned or controlled by Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Unfortunately, these advances have failed to reach the majority of forest communities, especially in Africa. The review also finds that there is a significant gap between formal legislation and actual implementation.