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Promising practices: Communal land titling for indigenous peoples

Our work focuses on poor and marginal communities, primarily in rural areas. Land is essential to all aspects of life for indigenous communities and fundamentally linked to livelihoods, traditions and culture.

Yet, a turbulent political history and challenges in the implementation of an effective land registration system, mean that poor communities in Cambodia are vulnerable to losing land that is rightfully theirs.

Through a three year project, implemented by DPA from 2013 to 2016, we worked to support indigenous communities to retain ownership of their land through communal land titles.

Funded jointly by the Big Lottery Fund and SCIAF, the project made use of Cambodian land legislation and worked collaboratively with communities, local government, ministries, NGOs and international agencies.

An independent, external evaluation found that supported communities benefitted in a number of ways, including increased protection and management of natural resources, improved health, hygiene and sanitation and increased resilience to climate change. In addition, communities were more knowledgeable about land laws on land, and better able and more confident to exercise their rights.