The Path to Scale Framework

Securing the land and resource rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and Afro-descendant Peoples provides an unprecedented opportunity to advance climate, biodiversity and development goals.

Decades of organization by communities and civil society, and strategic investments in their struggles, has created enabling conditions in the form of laws, policies, constitutional amendments as well as political willingness in dozens of governments to undertake tenure reforms.

Between 2014 and 2016 alone, 30 national governments passed laws and regulations strengthening Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ forest tenure rights. Implementing existing laws in four countries alone would recognize the legal ownership of communities to over 150 million hectares of tropical forests.

RRI posits a simple framework for P2S in order to understand and monitor the process by which the governments recognize the land rights of local communities and establish the conditions for those rights to be translated into sustainable social, environmental, and economic outcomes for local people, their countries, and the world.  

Put simply, there are two paths: one the path to scaling up recognition of land rights and the second to transform the social, economic, and political systems that help rural areas shift to rights-based conservation and development. And there are three steps in each path – starting from the establishment of a legal and regulatory framework for recognition of rights, then implementation of those rights at a regional level, and finally full implementation at national level.  Countries are at different stages in this process, with some not having an adequate legal environment and others implementing at some level. Sustained implementation of laws can often be just as political and challenging as the passing of legislation, and a strong civil society is essential to constantly encourage reforms and monitor progress.

The below framework will be used to identify and track country and global progress. Please see our soon to be released interactive dashboard to understand and compare the different opportunities to scale up investments.

Path to Scale and Transformation


Establish an adequate legal framework and enabling environment

Ensure legal or judicial systems recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and Afro-descendant Peoples

Implement (sub-national)

Develop mechanisms and protocols to implement laws and policies, and improve implementation by building business cases and sharing lessons learned


Implement (national)

Expand implementation to national levels through scaled up and coordinated investments


Path to scale-up recognition of land rights

Ensure supportive, enabling environment

Requires (1): critical mass of trust, relationships, support, and passionate champions from collective rights movements, government agencies, academia, and influential private sector (2): practical knowledge about how to implement; and (3) capacity to monitor and respond to strategic opportunities and to prevent back-sliding

Path to transform rural and forest landscapes

Engage leaders in assessing social, public policy, and economic systems to determine the most appropriate rights-based reforms


Catalyze adoption of rights-based development, business and conservation models by progressive organizations and companies


Instigate and support public and private policy reforms to embed rights-based models in social, political and economic systems

Source: RRI