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Poor, marginalised communities face land threats from mining, infrastructure, renewable energy - secure tenure rights urgently needed
Author: Rights and Resources Initiative (USA), Published on: 15 February 2017
From Risk and Conflict to Peace and Prosperity - The Urgency of securing Community Land Rights in a Turbulent World, Feb. 2017
Across Africa, investments in natural resource exploitation that ignore rights have caused significant and costly conflicts (Box 1). Mining, infrastructure, and renewable energy project - which are likely to increase in coming years - are also significant drivers of land conflicts and deforestation in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. These projects often fail to deliver promised economic benefits to governments or local peoples. The Environmental Justice Atlas documented over 1,880 resource-related conflicts worldwide, many caused by extractive projects that polluted or damaged the land, air, water, forests, and livelihoods of communities...The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) found that 40 percent of all internal conflicts are related to natural resources and that such areas are twice as likely to experience renewed episodes of conflict within five years. UNEP also noted that the way natural resources are allocated can “make or break” a peace agreement. Securing land and resource rights for local peoples is a crucial component of post-conflict peacebuilding for countries like Colombia and Mali, whose conflicts were fed in part by insecure land rights. Private companies investing in the developing world also expose their investments and reputations to significant risk when they ignore the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. “Tenure risk” is the financial risk associated with transferring land rights without the consent of affected communities...Securing women’s rights to community land and resources, in particular, leads to additional benefits for equitable development and stable societies. Women suffer disproportionately from land acquisitions and violence during any ensuing conflict...Peace and prosperity require secure, protected land and resource rights for the benefit of the 2.5 billion community land holders who rely directly on these resources...[Refers to Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Unilver, Olam, Feronia, Pepsico, Stora Enso, Golden Veroleum Liberia].