Expanding Community Rights Over Natural Resources
The goal of this work is to improve the livelihood of rural poor through increased access to, and decision making on, natural resources.
Many of the world's poorest families live in rural areas that are not conducive to commercial agriculture. These households depend heavily on forests, grasslands, marginal farmland and other natural resources for their livelihoods.
In developing countries, these communities have gained ownership rights or secure access to nearly 25 percent of the total forest area. However, their access is often restricted by private interests and the failure of governments to develop policies that address their unique needs and potential.
Indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and women are disproportionately affected by these restrictions.
What We're Doing
We support the development of improved natural resource policies and programs that offer poor and marginalized groups more access and ownership over natural resources, along with greater influence in decision making on land-use planning and development.
To advance these goals, we partner at the global, national and regional levels with:
- Think tanks
- Grassroots organizations
- Advocacy groups
- Private companies
Read the Expanding Community Rights Over Natural Resources initiative Strategy (PDF) and our SmartComms Report (PDF) on the impact effective communications had on advancing select initiative strategy.
Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.
What We're Following
- The Year in Review for Rainforests Mongabay.com summarizes major news relating to tropical forests around the world.
- Turning Point Rights and Resources Initiative reports on current status of forest rights and tenure worldwide, as well as challenges and opportunities local communities may face in coming years
- The Challenges of Growing with Complexity An evaluation of the Rights and Resources Initiative's efforts to further forest tenure reform and to strengthen livelihoods and democratic governance in developing countries
- The International Association for the Study of the Commons A key resource for discussion and analysis of community property, its management, and its contribution to sustainable development
From the Newsroom
"A Tipping Point Over Climate"
“The progress we are making in slowing deforestation stands as a powerful and pragmatic example of what can be done,” Darren Walker writes in an op-ed for CNN Opinion.
The Forest and Climate Challenge: Business, Government, and Indigenous Community Leaders Call for Action
Protecting forests in ways that benefit local people, the climate and the bottom line
As the Climate Changes, We Are All “Living Dangerously”
New documentary series explores the human impact of climate change
A Victory for Land Rights and Indigenous People in Indonesia
Constitutional Court rules that indigenous people have the right to manage forests where they live