While Indigenous peoples comprise just 6% of the global population, they manage or have tenure rights over at least 38 million km2 in some 87 countries. In many places Indigenous peoples are effective custodians of biodiversity, lands, and seas while sustaining distinct cultural, social and economic values of their communities. Upholding the rights of these communities is therefore increasingly at the center of international climate and biodiversity commitments and agreements.
The Cambodian Government has one of the strongest legal frameworks on the protection of such rights within the Mekong region, uniquely recognizing the rights of Indigenous peoples to manage land collectively. The government should be proud of this and further its implementation. These titles protect community lands in perpetuity and provide specific protections for lands held in common, such as forests where rotational farming is practiced, and where the spirits of buried ancestors are said to reside.