Secure resource use rights provide a powerful incentive – and a clear responsibility – for people to invest in managing their resources sustainably for themselves and for future generations, both locally and globally. They are also often key to enabling women and men to secure other basic human rights such as the right to food, water, and health. However, indigenous and other local communities often do not have legally recognised tenure despite having lived in their territories for many generations.

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) works with such communities to help them obtain legal recognition of their rights to access and manage land and other natural resources, such as coastal fisheries.

Experience shows that when community members themselves define how different resources and areas should be managed, the rules agreed are locally appropriate and therefore people are more likely to voluntarily comply with the rules and encourage others to do so. Coupled with activities to strengthen local capacity for sustainable management, this provides a stronger foundation for communities to manage their lands and resources more sustainably and to defend them from large-scale, destructive commercial interests.