Global trends towards a strengthening of legal rights over land for local and indigenous communities appear to have slowed significantly in recent years, leading some analysts to warn that the fight for local control over forests has reached an inflection point with a new danger of backtracking on previous progress. The past five years have seen less than 20 percent of global forestland put under community control compared to the previous half-dozen years, according to new research released Wednesday by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a Washington-based coalition of 140 international organisations. Further, the group says that far fewer legal safeguards were put in place during this latter period, while those laws that have been passed have been weaker. “If private companies and governments from the developed countries don’t weigh in, all of this progress could be lost – this could be it,” Andy White, RRI’s coordinator, told IPS.
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