The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) announces the release of its 2010-2011 annual report, PUSHBACK: Local Power, Global Realignment.
If 2009 was the end of the hinterland and the beginning of a new globalized forest era, 2010 was a year of pushback. Worldwide, the news was full of reports of forest communities and Indigenous Peoples pushing back at land grabs and shaping policy at the national and global levels, and of governments countering and trying to contain community rights. Some governments and private investors accepted or even embraced the new players at the table and began to promote fairer business and conservation models. There was also new soaring rhetoric about the centrality of tenure reform to efforts addressing climate change. Unfortunately, none of this added up to significant global progress in the recognition of local land and resource rights.
As we look ahead to 2011, we see higher risks of climate-driven disaster, food insecurity, and political upheaval, and a world realigning. Yet, at the same time, shifts in markets, technology and policy offer tremendous opportunity, and 2011 offers more potential than ever to advance the rights and livelihoods of forest communities. With multilateral arrangements weak and wobbly, the arena for action has shifted to the national level. Will the rhetoric on rights be matched by recognition on the ground? Now that Indigenous Peoples and forest communities have more seats at the table, will they be allowed to speak and, if they are, will they be listened to? Who will ally with forest communities and help them advance their own aspirations and, more important, who will the forest communities choose as allies?
This report takes stock of the current status of forest rights and tenure globally, assesses the key issues and events of 2010 that shape possibilities to improve local rights and livelihoods, and identifies key questions and challenges that the world will face in 2011.