Land and resources are essential to millions of peoples’ access to food, shelter, culture, work, water, health, and well-being. CIEL recognizes this vital connection and advances a rights-based approach to promote and protect rights relevant to land and natural resources.

Despite their vital importance, individual and community rights to land and resources are often threatened by increased pressures from development, as well as some conservation efforts. Indigenous peoples’ and other communities’ collective rights to their land and resources frequently go unrecognized, forcing them to defend their rights- and lives- at every turn. When these rights are insecure, then governments, private companies, and other entities may acquire or convert land for other uses. Changes in land use can also lead to involuntary displacement or environmental degradation.

CIEL works to minimize these threats and create opportunities to promote and support land and resources rights believing that in order to protect the environment and fight climate change, rights must be an integral part of the solution. Supporting local partners from around the world, CIEL engages in outreach and capacity building, as well as policy advocacy on climate, forests (including REDD+) and land use, food security, indigenous peoples’ rights, land tenure and women’s rights. CIEL has created tools such as ForestDefender to educate advocates about internationally-protected rights related to forest governance. We have also developed our Early Warning System to monitor development projects financed by international banks that may impact human rights.

Campaign Update

Introducing the Tri-Caucus: “It takes a village”

In the world of UN climate negotiations, in which 194 official parties, as well as hundreds of observers and representatives from civil society and...

Campaign Update

International Court Rules in Favor of Indigenous Community Land Rights

October, 2001 The Inter-American Court on Human Rights, in a precedent-setting ruling, recognized the property rights of indigenous community traditional lands. The international court,...