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Protecting land and natural resources tenure rights in the era of COVID-19 by heeding the lessons from the past

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SUMMARY

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe disruptions in food supply chains, undermining the ability of small food producers to access their land and the natural resources they need, thereby rendering them more vulnerable to encroachment on their tenure rights. This pandemic is requiring all stakeholders to evaluate and plan for how to protect the tenure rights of small food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples (IPs) and other vulnerable groups, to avoid additional devastating effects that could follow the existing health crisis. While the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is still unfolding, experiences gained from the food crises of the late 2000s have a lot to teach. This brief aims to highlight valuable lessons learned from those crises, and to outline how legislative and regulatory interventions can, during this crisis and beyond, strengthen secure access and control over land and natural resources for small food producers, particularly women, IPs and other vulnerable groups who feed themselves and the world. This as an important step towards mitigating the impact of the current health crisis on their access and control over natural resources and livelihoods.