Empowering indigenous peoples and advocating land rights

Indigenous peoples are the custodians of the forests in Myanmar and Peru. But most of them lack formal or actual rights to these lands, and are excluded from REDD+ processes.


International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)


Indigenous peoples heavily depend on forests for sustaining their livelihood and play a vital role in the sustainable management and protection of these. With growing outside pressure on land and resources, indigenous peoples´ right and access to their forests is under serious threat.

Indigenous peoples are often left out of decision making or do not have the capacity to actively engage with and participate in REDD+. Specifically indigenous women are excluded.

In Myanmar, indigenous peoples are not officially recognised and have no tenure rights. In Peru, indigenous peoples have land rights that are not fully implemented.

Without secure rights to land and without full and effective participation of indigenous women and men, the conservation of forests is unlikely to succeed. If implemented with their full and effective participation, REDD+ presents an opportunity for indigenous peoples to protect their forests for the benefit of all. This is reflected in the Cancun agreements and safeguards.

However, indigenous peoples’ rights are potentially under threat if these safeguards are not implemented in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ILO Convention nr. 169, and if Safeguard Information Systems do not report on this.


Norad intends to offer NOK 45 million in total for the period 2016-2020.


Through capacity building, media, advocacy and international human rights instruments, IWGIA and its partners aim to empower indigenous men and women to fully participate in decision-making and to secure that indigenous peoples’ rights are included in national REDD+ policies and safeguard monitoring systems. 

The intervention is based on the conviction that the implementation of a successful REDD+ mechanisms is only possible with strong rights based stakeholder engagement and consistent local monitoring. 

It aims at securing indigenous tenure rights and building the capacity of indigenous women and men, leaders and media to actively engage in and monitor REDD+. It wants to influence national authorities to recognize indigenous peoples’ rights in REDD+ and uses international grievance mechanisms to invoke rights at the national level.

Expected results: Indigenous rights recognized and implemented in national REDD+ policies

Indigenous communities in pilot areas will be able to take informed decisions on REDD+ according to their rights to consultations and Free, Prior and Informed Consent; a national policy framework on REDD+ in Myanmar and Peru reflects indigenous rights and specifically the roles and needs of indigenous women; an improved frame for tenure security through mapping (Myanmar) and conflict resolution mechanisms and strategies (both countries) is in place.

The project will also have created precedence for how to use international human rights instruments (treaty bodies, UPR) in cases of violation of indigenous peoples’ rights in relation to implementation of REDD+.


The project is implemented by the indigenous organizations SERVINDI, ONAMIAP and COHARYIMA in Peru and POINT in Myanmar, in partnership with IWGIA, who all have substantial experience with communication, empowerment of women, land rights advocacy, and the use of international human rights instruments as methods to achieve positive policy changes.

Published 13.06.2016
Last updated 14.06.2016