Countries’ climate mitigation pledges rely on unrealistic amounts of land-based carbon removal, totaling 1.2 billion hectares – an area larger than the United States and four times the size of India. Reforestation is slated for just over half (633 Mhas) and restoration for the rest (551 Mhas). Importantly, most pledges also pay little attention to who is living on, using and managing these lands, much less to existing land rights of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local communities (LCs).
Historical precedents are not reassuring. Without an understanding of history and power relations shaping the rights of IPs and LCs to land and territory, any attempt to fulfil these climate pledges is likely to perpetuate injustices. Chapter 4 of the Land Gap Report provides a succinct summary of the evidence of IP and LC dispossession, recognition and ongoing insecurity. It also proposes that the most effective and just way forward is to ensure that indigenous peoples and local communities have legitimate and effective ownership and control of their land. They must also have a strong voice to self-represent and engage on equal terms – ultimately exercising self-determination in the search for sustainable pathways for use of their lands and territories.
For the full report, including references, please see landgap.org