Global Goals and securing land rights

Photo Credit: IFAD: http://ifad-un.blogspot.nl/2012_05_01_archive.html

2015 is an important year for indigenous peoples and
communities. The UN Sustainable Development Summit took place in New York last
week, and coming December world leaders will meet to agree on a legally binding
climate deal at the Paris Climate Conference.

This weekend at the UN Summit in New York, the 193 Member
States of the UN and civil societies from all over the world met to officially
adopt the agenda of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The name of the
agenda: “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”.

So what are the Sustainable Development Goals? They are
created as a sequel to the Millennium Development Goals,
which expire by the end of this year. Just like the millennium goals, the SDGs
aim to end poverty and inequality through sustainable development by the end of
2030. Including civil society in the progress, 17 goals with 169 targets were drawn up. For example, the first SDG aims to “End poverty in all its forms
everywhere”. Its first target (target 1.1) looks to eradicate extreme poverty, measured
as people living on less than $1.25 a day. Indicators to monitor progress on
these goals will be set in March 2016.

So, how do indigenous peoples fit into this?

First of
all, indigenous peoples represent a large part of the world’s poor: the 370
million indigenous peoples constitute of 5% of the global population, yet about
15% of the world’s poor and about one-third of the world’s extremely poor
 Raising them out of poverty will be a crucial part of target 1.1. 

Another
important issue is that of land rights. The lives of one-fourth of the world population around the
world currently depend on land and natural resources. These rights are often
regulated through customary systems, but are rarely registered. This makes 1.5
billion people from indigenous peoples and local communities vulnerable to
losing their land. The
issue of land rights is addressed in target 1.4, which aims to ensure that: “By
2030, all men and women, particularly the poor and the vulnerable, have
equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services,
ownership, and control over land and other forms of property, inheritance,
natural resources, appropriate new technology, and financial services including
microfinance
”. However, there is still a lot of discussion that ensues. 

In the Global Call to Action on Indigenous Peoples’ and
Community Land Rights, indigenous peoples’ organizations and NGOs step up together
to make a strong voice for land rights. On Wednesday, at the International
Conference on Community and Indigenous Land and Resource Rights in Bern,
Switzerland, the RRI presented their report  which describes the current state of indigenous and
community land rights. The report shows that currently, indigenous peoples and local
communities inhabit 65% of the world’s land but only hold formal titles to 18%.
Although these figures seem discouraging, they provide a clear baseline from
which progress of the Global Call to Action can be measured. The goal is to
double the area of land recognized as owned or controlled by indigenous peoples
and local communities by 2020, so with these new numbers, we know what to aim
for!

Find out more about the Global Call to Action on
Indigenous and Community Land Rights here.

A good blog on the debate around  community land rights by Duncan Green can be found here.

Renée Hagen

Renée is an intern with the Global Call to Action for Indigenous and Community Land Rights Campaign team and a Masters student at Leiden University. Perhaps, the only thing overpowering her passion for land rights is her obsession with rowing. Once a national team rowing member, she has now retired to (amongst other things) blogging her adventures at the Oxfam Novib Academy.

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