2015 is set to be a pivotal year for the global recognition of land and resource rights if momentum in protecting the world's forests and their communities can be kept up, land rights experts and campaigners said on Wednesday.
Judges in Canada, Paraguay, Chile and Colombia among others took the lead in enshrining the rights of communities, and legislators in El Salvador passed community land laws in 2014, all big steps in ensuring human rights are respected, the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) said in its annual review.
"Without these rights, you will get the resource curse," RRI coordinator Andy White said at the report's launch, referring to a well-documented phenomenon in which countries that trade their natural resources are plagued by corruption and stagnation rather than social and econonomic development.
"We need governments to work with communities and corporates to stop that from happening."
Studies have shown that securing local land rights is essential in fighting climate change because local people protect forests - and the carbon they contain - when they have secure rights and government support.
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