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Legal Review No 1 International Law and Jurisprudence

First published on 09/30/2012, and last updated on 06/27/2017

Legal Review No 1 International Law and Jurisprudence

This report is part of a larger study conducted by the ICCA Consortium between 2011-2012, which also includes 15 national level legal reviews. Taken together, these reports collectively provide the basis for an analysis of the interaction between a) international law, national legislation, judgements, institutional frameworks, and b) Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ conserved territories and areas (ICCAs).

The national level research illustrates that, in many countries, Indigenous peoples and local communities continue to face a lack of recognition of their customary land rights, traditional collective governance institutions, and/or rights over natural resources in their territories. At the same time, legislation and policies are developed without the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples and local communities, legal frameworks fragment otherwise connected cultural and ecological landscapes, and justice systems remain largely inaccessible. Together these factors are significantly hindering the ability of Indigenous peoples and local communities to maintain the holistic integrity of their territories and areas In this context, this report seeks to understand why legal recognition is lacking at the national level with recourse to international law and jurisprudence. Towards this end, it adopts an integrated rights approach to review the full extent of international law and jurisprudence that relates – broadly put – to the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities to maintain the integrity of their ICCAs.


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Between 2011-2012, the ICCA Consortium undertook an international-to-local analysis of a spectrum of laws relevant to ICCAs. The reports analyze the effects of laws, policies and implementing agencies on ICCAs, and explore the diversity of ways in which Indigenous peoples and local communities are using the law to sustain the resilience of their ICCAs. Goals:

  • Recognizing and supporting conservation by indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Analyses of international law, national legislation, judgments, and institutions as they interrelate with territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities.

The synthesis report was launched in 2012 at the World Conservation Congress (Jeju, Korea) and the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Hyderabad, India)