Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Recognising and Supporting Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Recognising and Supporting Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities is a new Publication to be released at CBD’s 11th Conference of Parties (Oct 8-19th) in Hyderabad, India

Published by the CBD Secretariat, based on a study undertaken by the ICCA Consortium, coordinated by the Indian NGO Kalpavriksh

Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs) contain significant levels of biodiversity and related cultural diversity. This publication provides details of the range, extent and values of such sites, the threats they face, and the efforts being made by governments and civil society at recognizing and supporting them. Drawing lessons from 19 country case studies (covering all continents), and a range of other documentation, it offers lessons on how best to provide recognition to ICCAs.

The knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and local communities have contributed greatly to conservation of ecosystem, species, and genetic diversity. It is likely that as much of the world’s area as is under officially designated protected areas (about 13%), if not more, is under ICCAs.

In 2010, at the 10th Conference of Parties to the CBD (Nagoya, Japan), governments committed to a Strategic Plan on Biodiversity 2012-20. This included a set of 20 targets (‘Aichi Targets’), covering aspects such as integrating biodiversity into economic development, enhancing the coverage of protected areas and other forms of effective conservation, alleviating poverty and providing secure livelihoods.

This publication shows how ICCAs can help all countries to meet many of these targets, including Target 11 of expanding global protected area coverage to 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas. ICCAs can also help meet commitments under other global agreements such as the Millennium Development Goals and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This publication stresses that, in order to maintain and enhance the values of ICCAs, indigenous peoples and local communities governing them need adequate and appropriate recognition, including:

  • Clear rights to territories and natural resources, in both terrestrial and marine areas 
  • Recognition of their institutions of collective governance 
  • Rights to exclude destructive activities like mining
  • Respect of diverse cultures, lifestyles, economic systems 
  • Recognition of ICCAs as protected areas or other effective conservation areas 

The publication shows that several countries are moving substantially in these directions. For instance, in Australia, Indigenous Protected Areas make up about 30% of the official protected area estate, while in the Philippines legislation relating to ancestral domain rights is providing backing to indigenous peoples in their efforts to conserve and sustainable manage their territories. However, many countries are still weak in their recognition of indigenous peoples and local communities in general, and of ICCAs in particular. In most, serious threats from extractive industries and large infrastructure projects, imposition of inappropriate land uses, and lack of recognition are the key challenge.

Global cooperation is needed to enable all countries achieve recognition of ICCAs, to enhance their contribution to conservation, livelihood security, and cultural sustenance. The publication provides pointers on how this can be done through legal, administrative, social, financial, advocacy, networking and other forms of recognition and support.

Citation: Kothari, Ashish with Corrigan, Colleen, Jonas, Harry, Neumann, Aurelie, and Shrumm, Holly. (eds). 2012. Recognising and Supporting Territories and Areas Conserved By Indigenous Peoples And Local Communities: Global Overview and National Case Studies. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ICCA Consortium, Kalpavriksh, and Natural Justice, Montreal, Canada. Technical Series no. 64, 160 pp.

For further details, contact Ashish Kothari.

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