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Norway grants 10.3 Million EUR to ensure indigenous forest rights

The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI) has granted NOK 100 million (EUR 10.3 million) to help secure land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in tropical forest areas. Reduced deforestation and sustainable land use can provide one third of the emissions reductions needed before 2030 to avoid dangerous global warming. –Securing land rights of indigenous peoples is the best way to avoid deforestation in tropical areas, says Ola Elvestuen, Norway's Minister of Climate and Environment.

The NOK 100 Million grant will be channelled through the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility, an international foundation based in Stockholm, Sweden.

–We thank Norway for enabling the Tenure Facility to provide more economic and legal support to forest peoples to protect more forest landscapes.  Deforestation contributes substantially to global warming and the rapid depletion of species, says Nonette Royo, Executive Director of the Tenure Facility.

Securing Customary Rights

As much as 2.5 billion people make their living from forests and lands which they have customary rights to, but which are not legally recognized, placing their livelihoods and forests at risk.

Only a small fraction of community forest land is formally recognized under national law. Even where indigenous peoples rights are recognized, laws protecting them are often not implemented or enforced.

This is the challenge the Tenure Facility has been set up to correct. In the first five years, the Tenure Facility has assisted indigenous peoples and local communities secure an area of land and forest the size of the Netherlands  - more than 42.000 km2 - in the most pristine locations in the natural world. They have also strengthened protection over 24.000 km2 reserved for Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation.

–In many places we see increasing violence, forced displacement and even assassinations of indigenous leaders and other environment and human rights defenders in areas with unclear land rights, says Ola Elvestuen, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment. 

Less Deforestation and Conflict

The Norwegian International Climate and Forest initiative was established in 2008 following Norway's pledge to spend up to USD 500 million per year to enable developing countries to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.

–Where Indigenous Peoples and local communities have secure rights to manage their forests, backed by supportive government policies and enforcement, there is substantially less deforestation and conflict than in state protected areas or areas licensed for private, commercial use.

The 100 million grant is managed by Norad, The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

–Securing the land rights reduces the vulnerability of both forests and communities, and thus keeps vast quantities of carbon out of the atmosphere. Protecting and restoring forests, producing food more sustainably and improving land use represents the most immediately available and safe, nature based climate solution, says Minister Ola Elvestuen.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Tenure Facility works with partners in developing countries that have significant forest cover. It will prioritize initiatives in countries that provide supportive legal frameworks and with potential to scale up climate actions.

As such, the funding will help tropical forest countries reduce deforestation. Many countries have reduced deforestation as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

More broadly, the agreement with the International Land and Forest Tenure Facility will support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and its' motto "Leave no one behind.

The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility

The International Land and Forest Tenure Facility- the Tenure Facility for short, is an international foundation based in Sweden. It provides grants to implement tenure rights under existing law and policy and shares the knowledge, innovations and tools that emerge. As a financial mechanism, it implements and scales actions for the recognition of rights for collective land and forests of Indigenous Peoples, ethnic and local communities.

Since 2014, Tenure Facility have supported climate and forest actions of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Cameroon, Liberia, Mali, Mozambique, India, Indonesia, Colombia, Panama, Peru and Guyana. Norway also supported the Tenure Facility during 2017-18, in the order of NOK40 million. The NOK 100 million granted for 2019-20 will contribute to the Tenure Facility's goal for the next five years to secure 9 to 24 million hectares of forest territories for thriving communities. We go further, together.

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