Thematic Work

Building the Evidence Base

RRI’s Tenure Tracking Program tracks the progress on the recognition of Indigenous, community, and Afro-descendant land rights worldwide, and examines key links between secure land tenure and climate and development goals. These analyses underpin advocacy by communities, legislators, and policy experts, and strengthen the evidence base on the importance of securing Indigenous, community, and Afro-descendant land rights.

All of our analytical work is supported and verified by national experts and developed with Indigenous and community leaders from around the world. We conduct research on Land and Forest Tenure; Gender Justice; Climate and Conservation; Tenure risk assessment; and Livelihoods. We also capture qualitative information on community-based freshwater tenure rights. Our quantitative and qualitative databases cumulatively cover over 75 countries.

Here are a few highlights of our key achievements in 2022.

In October, we launched a new online Tenure Tool, an interactive platform in three languages that gives rightsholders, researchers, activists, policy makers, and the public free and easy access to the largest and most comprehensive dataset to date on the forest tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples, Afro-descendant Peoples, local communities, and the women within these groups. The tool contains national, regional, and country-level data on the distribution of statutory forest tenure across 58 countries spanning 15 years, and on the depth of communities’ forest tenure rights and the gender sensitivity of legal frameworks for 30 core countries. By increasing the accessibility of this data, especially country-level data, the tool equips frontline advocates and defenders of land and resource rights across the world.

Park rangers from the indigenous community of Borikada patrol parts of the Curare Los Ingleses Reservation in the Colombian Amazon designated for conservation and protection | Credit: Juan Arredondo for Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) Colombia

We completed groundwork for the five-year update and expansion of our Depth of Rights and Gender Database, to be published in 2023. Last published in 2017, the updated analyses will assess changes in national laws impacting the tenure rights of Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and local community women since 2016. RRI is also in the process of developing new indicators that speak to priority issues identified by the coalition, such as women’s livelihood rights and the interconnectedness of their rights across sectors.

Andiko, a senior lawyer for Indonesia’s AsM Law which provides legal support to Indigenous and tenure activists, addresses members of the Jogbahn clan in Grand Bassa County, Liberia. | Credit: Isabel Albee

The program routinely conducts trainings to provide coalition members with tools for conducting effective research-based advocacy on national and global platforms. In 2022, it trained Afro-descendant networks supported by RRI in Latin America. The trainings equipped Afro-descendant leaders from 11 countries in the region with research methodology skills, and also included a review of previous analyses produced by our partners and collaborators in Latin America.