Indigenous communities, often unaware of their rights under law are unable to use them to their advantage. Law can help make the difference between poverty and development, between malnutrition and a dignified life. Legal empowerment – whether through national or customary law – of indigenous peoples is the key.
Across Latin America and the Caribbean the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) is assisting the strengthening of legal frameworks on climate finance; providing tangible benefits to rural poor, women and indigenous communities. For example:
- IDLO has been working to enable indigenous communities in Ecuador – classified as most at risk to malnutrition – to sustainably manage their natural resources and achieve local food sovereignty.
- In Central and Latin America, IDLO is building the capacity of governments, civil society and legal bodies to reform and implement laws and institutions to support sustainable development in rural indigenous communities.
- Clear rules, good governance and the participation of civil society can ensure REDD+ projects respect the rights of indigenous communities and provide equitable benefits for their development.
Strong legal frameworks, and awareness of them by those they affect, can enable indigenous communities to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve dignity through sustainable livelihoods.