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Climate change mitigation policies that concern the forestry and agriculture sectors will have to address land tenure issues in order to foresee, plan and distribute risks and benefits of their incentive schemes. Unclear and often complex tenure arrangements are still prevailing in large areas of many developing countries, and addressing them is a major challenge. MICCA is working with partners to understand identify, review and raise awareness of key land and resource tenure issues and requirements to be addressed for implementing climate change mitigation policies (including REDD+) in the forestry and agriculture sectors.
In 2010 MICCA co-organized with the UN-REDD Programme and the Land Tenure team developing the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources an expert meeting on on key land and resource tenure issues and requirements for implementing climate change mitigation policies in the forestry and agriculture sectors. Information on the meeting including a summary and related documents can be accessed here.
Land tenure security is essential for climate change mitigation in agriculture
• Long-term soil carbon accumulation and conservation requires foresight. Without tenure security, it may not make financial sense for farmers to adopt land management practices, such as the cultivation of perennial crops, tree planting or construction of water harvesting facilities, that will yield long-term returns on investment.
• Benefit distribution mechanisms in financing instruments for carbon storage and other ecosystem services must identify who the beneficiaries are. Incentive measures for climate-smart agricultural practices require identication and coordination of recipients, and ways of ensuring accountability for the mitigating action. In situations with unclear tenure, this becomes unfeasible.
• Land rights are not only an issue for payments, but first and foremost for livelihoods and resource distribution. If inappropriately designed mitigation programmes are implemented where tenure insecurity still prevails, local farmers may find their use rights destabilized as the value of the land increases. If food production becomes less economically attractive than other forms of land use, this may lead to displacement of resource dependent users, conflict and increased food insecurity.
• Unclear tenure arrangements may deter external investors due to the risk of conflict and lack of accountability.
For more information, consult MICCA's Information brief on tenure and climate change.