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IWGIA Briefing Paper: The global land tenure situation of Indigenous Peoples and trends of land grabbing

Author: Louise Rose
Number of pages: 7
Publication language: English English
Region publication is about: Global
Release year: 2019
Release month / day: October

Tags: Land rights

The purpose of this briefing paper is to provide data on: (1) the land tenure situation of Indigenous Peoples on a global level; (2) the trends of land grabbing; and (3) the drivers behind this phenomenon.

Land is a vital resource for Indigenous communities, not only as their primary source of livelihood but also for their entire social and cultural survival. Land grabbing of Indigenous Peoples’ land, therefore, has a particularly negative impact on the affected communities. Indigenous Peoples live in some of the most nature-rich places in the world, such as boreal and tropical primary forests, savannahs and marshes. This means that when land grabbing happens to Indigenous Peoples, it also severely affects the world’s biodiversity.

Land grabbing is when large-scale acquisitions of land for commercial or industrial purposes are done with limited (if any) consultation of the local communities, limited (if any) compensation, and a lack of regard for the environmental sustainability and equitable access to, or control over, natural resources. Some argue that land grabbing has existed since colonial times but that it received wide attention as a global phenomenon with the financial and food crises in 2007-2008. Land grabbing often involves corrupt practices. Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer is the most extensive worldwide public opinion survey on views and experiences of corruption. According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer, the land sector exhibits one of the highest bribery rates among public services: globally, 21% of the respondents who needed land services declared they had to pay a bribe. This reveals that the land sector is very much driven by finance, control and power that underpin corrupt practices.

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

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IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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