Why land rights are important for climate action

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Key Takeaways

  1. Landrightsarecriticaltoclimate change adaptation, but have been overlooked in climate change negotiations and -projects

  2. People’sneedstoaccesslandfor climate change adaptation should be incorporated in national and local land use planning, and in adaptation projects

  3. People’saccesstolandforclimate change adaptation should be included in national monitoring and reporting for UNFCCC Global Stocktakes and the Global Goal on Adaptation

  4. Landrightsarealsocriticalfor climate change mitigation. Land rights therefore also require policy attention in connection to the growing emphasis on carbon projects and nature restoration.

Land rights – and struggles over them – have been a core element in human society throughout history, and they are critical to successful
and equitable climate action. Land rights are diverse and can be e.g., individual or communal, exclusive or partial, permanent or temporary – but common to all forms is that they provide access to land, water and other resources that are vital for people’s adaptation. Land rights have so far rarely been discussed in the climate negotiations or national and local climate policies, but they can make or break the practical implementation of a number of the plans and mechanisms decided at the UN COP negotiations and in domestic climate policies.

Land rights are a critical underlying feature in several of the key issues and debates at the global climate change negotiations, including those at COP28. This includes the Loss & Damage agenda, the Global Goal on Adaptation, and the growing emphasis on Nature-based Solutions including carbon off-setting projects and land restoration. Incorporating land rights in the UNFCCC Global Stocktakes is equally important.

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