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Reports & Analysis

Land Tenure and Climate Change Mitigation

Experts from the UN-REDD Programme, the FAO Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture project (MICCA project) and the FAO team responsible for the voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land and other natural resources, recently came together to identify what is needed to address land tenure issues in the implementation of climate change mitigation policies.

The expert meeting entitled “Land tenure issues and requirements for implementing climate change mitigation policies in the forestry and agriculture sectors”was organized at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy on 15-17 November 2010 to identify and discuss the key land tenure issues that affect climate change mitigation initiatives. Some of these issues include unclear and often complex customary tenure arrangements that are still prevailing in many developing countries. Climate change mitigation policies for the forestry and agriculture sectors will have to address land tenure issues in order to foresee, plan and distribute risks and benefits of incentive schemes such as REDD+.

The meeting, which brought together 50 participants from governments, international organizations, non-governmental organizations and academia, discussed tools and processes for clarifying and registering rights and defining minimum land tenure requirements for implementing compensation schemes. How and whether carbon rights should be defined is not yet clear in many cases, but it was agreed that unless benefits from rights are distributed fairly, conflicts may arise. Legal recognition and basic documentation of community and other collective tenure arrangements are thus needed, which will require innovative methods in order for processes to be completed within time and budget constraints. The meeting also concluded that guiding principles should include transparency in decision making processes and general availability and access of information, an enabling legal framework and conflict resolution mechanisms.

Experts at the meeting cautioned that tools, mechanisms and processes for clarifying and registering rights (statutory or non-statutory) must be implemented with care, accounting for local circumstances, as the different means of clarifying rights can have both positive and negative impacts. Their application may cause or resolve conflicts, and improve or worsen the position of vulnerable groups, depending on context.

Mechanisms such as REDD+ are unlikely to succeed in the absence of an understanding of who holds the rights to land and carbon. Legal recognition of the rights to land and resources provides security to both local communities and investors, thereby facilitating long-term planning and investments on different scales. Ways of dealing with unclear or complex tenure arrangements must thus be sought in order to upscale mitigation initiatives.

Finally, the meeting concluded that tenure security and climate change are two issues among many and activities such as REDD+ that are undertaken to address these issues do not operate in isolation. Prioritized objectives for the forestry and agricultural sectors must continue to include food security and livelihoods. Processes for clarification of rights as well as climate change mitigation initiatives will need to be implemented under these premises, within a broader development perspective.

Visit the meeting website

In this issue


UN-REDD in Cancun

Norway and UN-REDD Help Mexico Strengthen its MRV System

Zambia Launches Implementation of its UN-REDD National Programme

UN-REDD FPIC Consultations in Africa
Features & Commentary

2011: International Year of Forests By: Jan McAlpine

Early Lessons on REDD+
Reports & Analysis

Estimating the Opportunity Costs of REDD+

Land Tenure and Climate Change Mitigation
Looking ahead

United Nations Forum on Forests, 9th Session
24 January - 4 February 2011, New York, USA

UN-REDD Programme Regional FPIC Workshop
24 - 27 January 2011, Arusha, Tanzania

Chatham House Illegal Logging Stakeholder Update
27 - 28 January, 2011, London, UK

9th RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change
8 February, 2011, London, UK
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