Secure and Equitable Land Rights in the Post-2015 Agenda

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This technical briefing authored by a number of international organizations working on food security, natural resource management and poverty eradication, and endorsed by many local civil society organizations around the world, strongly encourages governments to keep the profile of land and natural resources high in the document on sustainable development goals to be endorsed in September 2015. Secure and equitable land rights, particularly for those living in poverty and using and managing ecosystems, are an essential element of a post-2015 agenda that has the ambition to be people-centred and planet-sensitive. This briefing is accompanied by Land Rights Indicators in the Post-2015 SDGs: Recommendations for inter-agency expert group and other policymakers
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  Secure and equitable land ri󰁧hts in the Post–󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀵 A󰁧enda A key issue in the future we want January 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀵 · Technical briefin󰁧  󰀲 Headline recommendations The ongoing global conversation to define the Post-󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀵 Sustainable Development Agenda is a historic opportunity to end poverty and improve the livelihoods of the poorest and most marginalised women and men in the world.Governments have already made strong recommendations through the July 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀴 Outcome Document of the UN Open Working Group (OWG). As organizations working on food security, natural resources management and poverty eradication, we strongly encourage them to keep the profile of land and natural resources high in the document to be endorsed in September 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀵. Secure and equitable land rights, particularly for those living in poverty and using and managing ecosystems, are an essential element of an Agenda that has the ambition to be people-centred and planet-sensitive. We recall the international consensus governments have already reached on this subject, particularly with the 󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲 Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests, agreed by 󰀱󰀹󰀳 countries. We embrace and are guided by the principle of leaving no one behind, as recently stressed by the UN Secretary General’s report “The Road to Dignity by 󰀲󰀰󰀳󰀰”. In the run-up to the launch of intergovernmental negotiations, we therefore stress the following dimensions: ã Secure and equitable land rights are key to achieve sustainable development for all, and particularly Goals 1, 2, 5, 11, and 15.ã A stand-alone target promoting women’s land rights in Goal 5 on gender equality and a reference to both women and men in all the other land-related targets is essential. In the nalisation of the Agenda, we also encourage the inclusion and monitoring of the following: ã Explicit support to customary and collective rights to land and natural resources to sustain livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.ã Use of the language “secure and equitable land rights” rather than “access to” as it brings about real change on the ground.ã The role of secure and equitable land rights to make cities and human settlements inclusive and resilient. ã Explicit reference to the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent to ensure that the Agenda is truly participatory and legitimate at all levels. We afrm from our collective experience that monitoring progress on land rights is feasible.  󰀳 What makes secure and equitable land rights so critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals? The Post-󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀵 Agenda must address the structural factors that undermine sustainable development. It is widely recognised that secure and equitable rights to land and natural resources are central to this effort. 󰀱 Land rights empower people and provide a sense of dignity. They enhance food security and are fundamental to achieve the right to food and increase the productivity of small-scale food producers. They provide an incentive for ecosystem stewardship, and they promote inclusive and equitable societies whilst underpinning cultures and value systems. In most countries of the world, land rights make the difference for girls and women that need education, income and voice. It is estimated that non-marketed services derived from the use of land and natural resources make up 󰀵󰀰-󰀹󰀰% of the total source of livelihoods of rural households living in poverty world-wide. 󰀲 Efforts to achieve sustainable development for all must therefore consider rights to land and natural resources as a priority. Ultimately, they are a key component of each of the overarching elements recently proposed by the UN Secretary General: Dignity, People, Prosperity, Justice, Planet   and Partnership . Building on the existing international consensus on land rights Land is mentioned frequently in the Outcome Document of the OWG. 󰀳  This reflects the already solid international consensus achieved on this subject in recent years. 󰀴 This consensus is manifest, among others, in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP 󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀷), the Africa Union’s Framework and Guidelines for Land Policy in Africa (󰀲󰀰󰀰󰀹), and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀲), but also a growing number of commitments by the private sector. We encourage governments to further align the language and the ambition of the Agenda and its monitoring framework to these international standards.  󰀴 Our recommendations Forests, rangelands, bodies of water, and related natural resources worldwide are often held and managed by communities through customary institutions. Two billion people access and use these resources, including 󰀳󰀷󰀰 million Indigenous Peoples for whom international instruments recognize distinct rights.The Post-󰀲󰀰󰀱󰀵 Agenda should strengthen rather than fragment these community-based and collective tenure systems, particularly in relation to poverty eradication (Goal 󰀱), sustainable agriculture (Goal 󰀲) and the protection and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity (Goal 󰀱󰀵). 󰀵 To address this subject, delegations can build on agreed language of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, 󰀶  and the Framework and Guidelines for Land and Policy in Africa, 󰀷  as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the recently released Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. 󰀸   Indigenous peoples and local communities The Post-2015 Agenda should advance and monitor progress on the land rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including through recognition of customary and collective tenure systems. 󰀱 The achievement of land-related targets depends on recognition of rights and qualitative procedures, namely inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making and accountability at all levels, including the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), a right of indigenous peoples within international human rights instruments, and increasingly a principle to be extended to all local communities.We welcome the reference to this principle in the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 󰀹  and, recently, by the UN Secretary General. 󰀱󰀰 We encourage governments to reintroduce this principle to be consistent with international benchmarks. This is critical to ensure that sustainable development strategies respond to people’s needs and avoid devastating consequences on local communities. Free, prior and informed consent The Post-2015 Agenda should make explicit reference to and monitor progress on the   implementation of the Principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent for Indigenous Peoples   and local communities. 󰀲
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