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About the Initiative

Introduction to RRI

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) is a global coalition of organizations working to encourage forest land tenure and policy reforms and the transformation of the forest economy so that business reflects local development agendas and supports local livelihoods. RRI works at the country, regional and global levels, collaborating on research, advocacy and convening strategic actors.

The RRI Coalition is formed by a group of core Partners who work in areas of their regional and thematic expertise. Partners also engage with a wide group of Collaborators who participate in and support RRI activities. Our 13 Partners and 140 plus Collaborator organizations are directly engaged in land and forest policy reforms in close to 20 countries throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. Together, we are working to encourage greater global commitment and action on pro-poor tenure, policy and market reforms.

This strategic coalition goes beyond the traditional set of international development actors to involve a wide spectrum of organizations, each of which provides a critical perspective in the larger chain of actors necessary to advance change.

The Secretariat of the Rights and Resources Initiative, the Rights and Resources Group (RRG), is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that leads the global-level analysis and advocacy, catalyzes new strategic collaboration and advisory groups, and coordinates the governance and activities of the Initiative.


RRI's Rationale for Engagement: 

Why we need to accelerate reforms in land rights, governance, and markets to meet global challenge to reduce poverty, conflict and climate change

1.    There is unprecedented global interest in community lands and resources that threatens local, national and global security and development. Forests and drylands in developing countries constitute almost 40 percent of the Earth’s land surface (almost 6 billion hectares) and house over 40 percent of the Earth's population. These more than 3 billion people are among the world’s poorest and most marginalized, with legally unrecognized customary land and resource rights and thus vulnerable to land-grabbing, deforestation and ecosystem degradation. These areas are becoming even more important in the fight against climate change.

2.    Insecure and unjust tenure and weak governance undermine progress on global goals of alleviating poverty, advancing women’s rights and gender equity, and reducing illegal logging, conflict and greenhouse emissions. Rapidly rising global demand for agricultural land, bio-energy, minerals, water and other natural resources, and related speculative investment, is driving an unprecedented rush for rural land and resources. The projected US$ tens of trillions of investment in developing country infrastructure and mining alone over the next several decades vastly surpass investments in forest conservation and climate change and present a major threat.

3.    There is unprecedented demand from key governments, conservation and development organizations, and private investors for technical support and investment on tenure and governance reforms. This demand translates into an historic opportunity to mobilize action to secure lands in coming years and to improve livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people.

4.    There has been significant progress in recent decades in recognizing local tenure rights, addressing illegal logging and trade, and transforming forestry and agricultural supply chains to adhere to social and environmental standards. The innovative approaches, partnerships, standards and tools that have produced these achievements can be scaled up to convert the demand for resources into a force for positive development.

Since establishing the coalition in 2005 RRI is recognized as the world’s leading network on forest tenure and governance and for catalyzing major shifts in tenure and governance policy in China, Indonesia, Brazil, and Nepal among other countries.