FCMC: Tenure Rights, Human Rights AND REDD+: Knowledge, Skills and Tools for Effective Results report


FCMC is  pleased to inform you that a new report titled “TENURE RIGHTS, HUMAN RIGHTS AND REDD+: KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND TOOLS FOR EFFECTIVE RESULTS” has been released and is available for download on the FCMC website.  



Identifying, respecting, and advancing rights associated with forest resources can help ensure effective, efficient, and equitable implementation of efforts to reduce forest-related greenhouse gas emissions, also known as REDD+. This report and accompanying brief present a framework for identifying and asserting tenure and human rights associated with forests and land use in the context of climate change policies and measures.


Identifying, respecting, and advancing rights associated with forest resources can help ensure effective, efficient, and equitable implementation of efforts to protect, manage and restore forests in developing countries, also known as REDD+1. This document, intended for a multi-stakeholder audience generally familiar with REDD+, presents a framework for identifying and asserting tenure and human rights associated with forests and land use in the context of climate change policies and measures. 


Clearly defined land rights can help identify which actors are necessary to address drivers of deforestation and can determine shares in benefits from reduced deforestation. Local resource management may even improve forest outcomes. Respecting human rights, such as cultural, livelihood, non-discrimination, participatory decision-making, access to justice, and resource-related rights, helps ensure that REDD+-related decisions are made in a fair and equitable manner, and supported by those with direct access to forest resources.

In many countries, people and communities have any number of rights on paper – but they may be unaware of how these rights apply to REDD+ and forest activities or how to exercise and defend them. Governments and donors may be unaware of their responsibilities as duty bearers to uphold these rights. In many cases, stakeholder groups have not been adequately involved in REDD+ planning, decision-making, or implementation. Their greater involvement is essential for successful and sustainable REDD+ interventions. Moreover, clarity around forest resources rights – decision-making, ownership and use rights – has the potential to enhance the long-term sustainability of efforts and facilitate equitable benefit-sharing.

In recent decades, many policies and laws have been developed and implemented to help determine the scope of forest-related tenure and human rights. Tenure rights include a suite of underlying rights, such as access; withdrawal (i.e. the right to remove resources and benefit from their sale or use); power to exclude, regulate and sanction; and alienate land, territories, and/or resources. Human rights can be procedural – such as access to information, participation in decision-making, due process in adjudications – as well as substantive, such as cultural rights (e.g. non-discrimination), equitable benefits, and resource-related rights to livelihoods and land. Sources of these rights derive from international obligations found in treaties and customary international law (i.e. broadly accepted norms based on widespread practice), national legislation and common law, and customary rights associated with a specific communities or people. These diverse sources create a legal framework of privileges and responsibilities that apply to rights holders and duty bearers.

There are a number of tools available to help ensure that rights are respected in the implementation of REDD+-related activities including impact assessments, participatory design, mapping and monitoring, and standards, laws and policies. Judicial and non-judicial mechanisms at scales ranging from the project to international levels can help resolve disputes that may involve tenure and human rights concerns. Examples where rights have been successfully asserted include cases of the Saramaka People vs. Suriname in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a World Bank Inspection Panel investigation regarding timber concessions and pygmy communities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and indigenous lands recognized in Indonesian courts on forest zoning and licensing decisions. The brief concludes with a number of online resources and publications that provide additional information.

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