REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (August 25, 2014) — Omidyar Network announced today a grant of $1.5 million USD to support the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a Washington, D.C. based nonprofit organization that works globally to increase the security of local communities’ and Indigenous Peoples’ ownership over forest areas as a means of empowerment, poverty reduction, and climate change mitigation. The 18-month grant will support requisite technology improvements to enable enhanced capture, analysis and monitoring of data and impact, as well as increased engagement with private sector actors.
The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) is a global coalition of 14 core partners and more than 140 collaborating organizations engaged in forest and land policy reform in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. RRI comprises a wide spectrum of organizations, including local community and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, research institutions, development assistance organizations, and local and international research and human rights groups. RRI works closely with governments and private enterprises to encourage forest land tenure and market reforms.
Omidyar Network’s grant to RRI is an integral part of the philanthropic investment firm’s Property Rights Initiative, which invests in entrepreneurs and organizations that work to confirm and protect the property rights of individuals, businesses, groups, and communities, which, in turn, triggers a multiplying effect of opportunity, including: social identification and inclusion; economic stability; better environmental stewardship; and responsible and informed private investment that lowers financial risk.
“The work of RRI is core to our Property Rights strategy,“ said Peter Rabley, who leads property rights investments worldwide at Omidyar Network. “RRI works to open up political and market processes so that Indigenous Peoples and local communities can confirm and protect their property rights, thereby creating real social and economic opportunities for families and communities all over the world.”
Ownership of over one-half of the developing world’s rural, forest and dryland areas is contested, which impacts the lives and livelihoods of over two billion people. Research proves that it is possible to alleviate poverty, conserve forests and encourage sustained economic growth in forested areas by securing local communities and Indigenous Peoples’ rights to land and resources, as well as support their full participation in the market and the political processes that regulate these lands.
“We are very excited about this new collaboration with Omidyar Network and the potential to benefit the millions of people whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably linked to the world’s forests that it brings,” said Andy White, coordinator of the Rights and Resources Initiative. “Their innovative investment strategy and expertise in using technology to advance the greater good is an opportunity for all of us working in the property rights sector to raise the level of our game, and the level of our impact.”