In 2013, leading Indigenous Peoples, community organizations, NGOs, governments, private companies, and investors met in Interlaken to devise strategies to scale up global efforts to secure community land and resource rights. In September 2015, meeting in Bern assessed and established a new baseline from which to measure global progress.
But the world has changed: there are now unprecedented commitments to respect community land rights from leading companies, governments, donors, and international organizations. A suite of new tools and initiatives designed to support communities’ ongoing struggle to assert their rights has been established—and the power of the world’s Indigenous Peoples and local communities has already begun to demonstrate their effectiveness. Amidst this progress, the pressure on land continues to grow, and community members who assert their rights continue to do so at grave risk.
It is time to once again convene, take-stock of what works and what doesn’t, and build on our shared progress. The problems we seek to address are global in scale. Seizing the opportunity that recent—and unprecedented—commitments to respect rights bring will require great ambition and a willingness to collaborate across diverse and sometimes unlikely partners.