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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Tested, Cost-effective, and Practical: Secure Community Land Rights Can Help Protect the Earth and Prevent the Climate Crisis

Indigenous Peoples and community advocates in Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, Taiwan, and 21 other countries to take action for community land rights, April 22-29 (Earth Day)
WASHINGTON -

Research shows that Indigenous Peoples and local communities are the best guardians of their customary lands and forests. For generations, these communities have managed and conserved the resources on which we all depend, yet they enjoy legal recognition to just one-fifth of what is rightfully theirs, according to research from the Rights and Resources Initiative. The insecurity of indigenous and community tenure rights poses a significant threat to global efforts to combat climate change: at least one-tenth of the carbon stored in the world's tropical forests is in community lands that lack formal, legal recognition, leaving them vulnerable to land grabs, deforestation, and exploitation. Land-grabs for agriculture, infrastructure, or extraction projects are not only devastating for communities, but can also have disastrous environmental consequences.

This Earth Day, April 22nd, the Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights is mobilising to draw attention to the crisis of insecure land rights, and to the threat that tenure insecurity poses in the struggle to address the global climate crisis. Actions and events are planned in 25 countries, bringing together a diverse range of influencers from the climate change, conservation, women's rights, and peacebuilding communities.

At the centre of the global mobilisation will be communities from Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, and Taiwan. New case studies on their actions will highlight why secure indigenous and community land rights are not only crucial for the wellbeing of communities themselves, but also for the global struggle against climate change. Below is a brief overview of the forthcoming case studies:

  • In Brazil, once a leader in protecting indigenous land rights, the Munduruku people will call on the government to stop the rollback of indigenous land rights and to cancel the dams that threaten their homes, lands, and livelihoods, as powerful government and business interests threaten Amazonian communities.
  • In Kenya, the Save Lamu Coalition is leading indigenous and community opposition to a proposed coal plant that would cause significant harm to the environment and the livelihoods of local communities near the coastal town of Lamu.
  • In Taiwan, the Kasavakan community are actively opposing a recent regulation threatening their ancestral community forests.
  • In Guatemala, Maya Qéqchi indigenous communities are under threat from the expanding palm oil industry. In some parts of the country, communities have completely disappeared, despite the proven benefits of community management.

WHO:

  • Omar Mohammed, National Liaison Officer, Save Lamu, Kenya
  • Sônia Guajajara, National Coordinator of Brazil's Association of Indigenous Peoples (AIPB), Brazil
  • Tuhi Martukaw (Jocelyn), member of Kasavakan Community, Coordinator, LIMA Taiwan Indigenous Youth Working Group, Taiwan
  • Margarita Osorio, member of the Limón Imperial community in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala
  • Geisselle Sanchez, Program Director, ActionAid Guatemala
  • Doug Hertzler, Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA
  • Andy White, Coordinator, Rights and Resources Initiative
  • Luca Miggiano, Land Rights Policy Advisor, Oxfam
  • Mike Taylor, Director, International Land Coalition
  • Fionuala Cregan, Coordinator, Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights

WHAT:

Global Call to Action Earth Day Mobilisation. Learn more here.

WHERE:

25 countries worldwide. See the interactive map here.

WHEN:

April 22-29, 2017 (Earth Day)

###

The Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights is a solidarity movement of organizations and communities united to promote the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities by working with them to mobilise, communicate, advocate, monitor and nurture strategic initiatives to secure life in land. Land Rights Now is a campaign within the Global Call with the aim to double the area of land recognized as owned or controlled by Indigenous Peoples and local communities by 2020. Over 550 groups are now part of the Land Rights Now Initiative. For more information, visit www.landrightsnow.org.

###

Amazon Watch is a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon Basin. We partner with indigenous and environmental organizations in campaigns for human rights, corporate accountability and the preservation of the Amazon's ecological systems.

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