Tenure and Global Climate Change: Assessments

Completed Project
Project Countries: Bangladesh, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Nepal, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Tanzania
Thematic Issues: Climate Change and Natural Resource Management, Customary and Community Tenure, Marine Tenure and Coastal Resource Management
Project Duration: 2013 to 2018
Approximate Funding: $13,400,000

In support of its global focus and study on the impact of land tenure in different regions, ecosystems, and economic environments, the USAID Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) project used policy engagement, in-depth case studies, and quantitative and qualitative analysis to develop comparisons, and advance knowledge and practice on how land and resource rights relate to global efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Through TGCC assessments in over ten countries, common themes were discovered that related to: supporting the recognition and documentation of customary rights; and supporting the clarification of government and local resource rights, and responsibilities in areas where there are overlapping or ambiguous laws and customs, such as coastal and marine zones, public-private sector ownership, wildlife management areas, and forested areas.

Land & TGCC

Completed through the lens of global climate-change mitigation programs (such as REDD+), TGCC’s research on current and past experiences, formal and customary law analyses, and field study reporting, has produced assessments, which are useful for the integration of land tenure into sustainable, development programming.

Assessments by Country


Bangladesh Assessment

TGCC’s assessment work in Bangladesh began in response to a request from USAID/Bangladesh to assess the role of land tenure in its future programming and in one of its current projects, Enhanced Coastal Fisheries (ECOFISHBD). ECOFISHBD currently focused on hilsa shad (a migratory species between rivers and ocean) fisheries to improve the resilience of the Meghna River ecosystem and communities. USAID/Bangladesh wanted to expand their knowledge to include how and/or if tenure/co-management arrangements can enhance outcomes in this and future projects. TGCC studied these arrangements through an analysis of the country’s hilsa fishery tenure regime, the legal and institutional framework in Bangladesh, and by contrasting them with hilsa shad interventions in other countries.

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Guatemala Assessment

TGCC’s assessment in Guatemala, developed by USAID through the Property Rights and Resource Governance (PRRG) and Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) programs, applies a land and resource tenure assessment framework to evaluate four elements of successful land-use based climate change mitigation activities. The assessment focuses on how tenure relates to: 1) identifying relevant stakeholders; 2) understanding and adapting land and forest policy incentive mechanisms; 3) clarifying rights to benefit through the application of “carbon rights;” and 4) engaging stakeholders through free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). The analysis applies analytical tools to guide each of these areas of inquiry. It is designed for use by policy makers, donors, and project implementers in Guatemala to better understand how tenure constraints factor into the success of the current REDD+ plans.

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Honduras Assessment

Adaptation is, without a doubt, a priority in Honduras, which has faced severe climatic events, including hurricanes and floods. Currently, a myriad of initiatives is implementing REDD+ activities in the country, and a readiness preparation process is taking place, financed by international programs. This assessment shows that enhancing land tenure in Honduras is crucial for REDD+ implementation and future funding for forest carbon initiatives. Moreover, providing clarity on land and resource tenure helps to promote investment, reduce the level of conflict, and improve land management in the country. The assessment points to the necessity of the land tenure reforms for the successful implementation of REDD+ can be introduced gradually and should be part of a continuous and participatory process.

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Indonesia Assessment

In Indonesia’s Lampung Province, tenure regimes and mangrove management arrangements vary from community/customary management, to joint community-state management, to local government management in a local university. Within these differing arrangements at a local level, TGCC assessed the collaboration with governance of mangroves, particularly tenure dimensions related to use, management, and rehabilitation of mangrove resources. This analysis helps to provide a better understanding of how they function and influence the condition of mangrove resources. The assessment supports new USAID fisheries programs and local partners on integration of marine tenure in program design by providing recommendations for policy and practice based on TGCC’s key findings.

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Nepal Assessment

Given that Nepal is a global leader in the devolution of forest tenure arrangements to a range of different community-based forest tenure institutions, the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) offers an opportunity to understand how an emission reduction (ER) Program can be effectively implemented in a landscape with a complex mosaic of forest tenure institutions. Assessing the effectiveness of these devolved tenure institutions for protecting forests can help determine which of these tenure institutions, individually and in aggregate, are likely to be primary contributors to achieving ER goals. This assessment of the present status of Nepal’s land and natural resource tenure within the Emission Reductions Program Accounting Area (ERPAA), that forms part of the TAL, has been prepared in order to support Nepal’s REDD+ Implementation Centre (RIC, previously called the REDD+ Cell) in developing its ER Program design.

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Panama Assessment

The analysis was undertaken for the USAID Central America Regional Climate Change Program (RCCP), and complementary analyses were undertaken in Honduras and Guatemala. The analysis applies analytical tools developed by USAID through the Property Rights and Resource Governance (PRRG) and Tenure and Global Climate Change (TGCC) programs to guide areas of inquiry. It is designed for use by policy makers, donors, and project implementers in Panama to better understand how tenure can be a constraining factor into the success of the current REDD+ plans.

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Paraguay Assessment

In Paraguay, the Chaco region has the greatest diversity of indigenous peoples in Paraguay, including the last uncontacted indigenous persons outside the Amazon. The Chaco covers 24,155 ha (250,000 km2), or about 60 percent of Paraguay’s land area; however, it is home to less than two percent of the country’s population. TGCC provided an assessment of the deforestation and land rights risks to meatpackers sourcing cattle from this region and identified some possible approaches to addressing these risks. Given the significant losses over time, particular attention was paid to indigenous lands, including both lands that are now legally held by indigenous peoples and those that are claimed by indigenous peoples but are legally held by private landholders or the state.

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Philippines Assessment

In the coastal zones of the Philippines, approximately 10 million Filipinos rely directly on small-scale fishing to meet their household food needs. With complex and often conflicting and competing array of human uses within these coastal areas, small-scale fishers and coastal communities have a strong interest in organizing and acting collectively to manage their resources sustainably. As part of the TGCC mechanism, the USAID Land and Urban Office produced guidance for the inclusion of marine tenure in programming and projects in collaboration with USAID fisheries projects to help small-scale fishers and communities.

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Tanzania Assessment

Tanzania’s Rufiji estuary provides an excellent case study because it has the most extensive mangrove forest area (about 22,000 hectares [ha]) in the region; experiences the full range of threats facing mangrove forests in the country and relies on different types of mangrove management approaches. This assessment report provides an analysis of natural resource governance, including land and resource tenure, in coastal mangrove forests in Tanzania, focusing in particular on the Rufiji delta. It forms part of a broader study that includes a global review and a parallel national-level study of Indonesian mangroves. By examining national-level legal and policy frameworks covering forestry, wildlife, fisheries, land, and agriculture sectors, the report identifies the way in which regulations and institutional coordination affects the governance of mangrove forests including tenure arrangements.

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