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ICCA-GSI Undertakes Legal and Policy Analyses to Improve Recognition of ICCAs

First published on 05/17/2019, and last updated on 11/22/2019

Directly extracted from this article of the GEF Small Grants Programme

To address some of the causal constraints in achieving Aichi targets and contribute to Post-2020 Aichi Framework, the ICCA-GSI undertakes legal and policy analyses in majority of the participating countries.  The overall aim of this initiative is to evaluate the impact of laws, policies and institutional frameworks on ICCAs at the national level (and at the local level as pertinent to the country); and provide appropriate recommendations and strategies for reforms to improve the recognition and support to ICCAs. Natural Justice, the ICCA-GSI global technical partner, provides guidance, methodology and other technical support for the national legal analyses on ICCAs.  The legal projects are delivered by the GEF SGP, with support from the ICCA Consortium in relevant countries.

In Indonesia, An Analysis of International Law, National Legislation, Judgements and Institutions as they interrelate with Territories and Areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities was finalized in April 2019.  The 86-page report examines how Masyarakat Adat (Indigenous Peoples) and Masyarakat Hukum Adat (Adat Law Communities) are impacted by legal and institutional regulatory frameworks at the national, provincial, and district or city levels.  Challenges and opportunities in relation to human rights (civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights), governance, tenure rights, customary land rights and communal rights are reviewed, with recommendations for reforms provided.  For more information, please contact Ms. Catharina Dwishastarni at

In Viet Nam, Legal Analysis to Assess the Impact of National Laws, Policies and Institutional Frameworks on Ethnic Minorities & Local Communities in the Conservation and Development of Natural Resources in Viet Nam was finalized on October 2018.  The 56-page report provides (i) a review of current state of national laws, policies and institutions on ethnic minorities and local communities in the conservation and development of natural resources; (ii) identifies inadequacies and constraints; (iii) and provides recommendations to appropriately recognize and strengthen ICCAs though policy reforms; promoting and developing protected areas (PAs) managed by ethnic minorities and local communities towards achieving Nagoya Protocol commitments and Biodiversity Aichi targets.  For more information, please contact Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen at

In other ICCA-GSI participating countries (Argentina, Belize, Benin, Colombia, Guatemala, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Namibia, Paraguay, Senegal, Suriname, Tanzania and Zambia), the legal analysis projects are in its preliminary stages.  After the initial desk-review of policies, laws and regulatory frameworks, workshops are iteratively organized to bring multi-level stakeholders together to review and provide recommendations.  The participants include indigenous and local communities, government authorities, academia and other civil society organizations, UN agencies and conservation institutions/organizations.  Some examples include:

In Morocco, the first draft was shared in a national dialogue workshop on 2 May 2019, where more than 70 national and local stakeholders came together to discuss the preliminary results and receive inputs.  Discussion points included (i) Examining the national reality of ICCAs, focusing on the typology of ICCAs in Morocco and the factors affecting them; (ii) Presenting case studies from four Morocco ICCAs which emphasized the importance of intergenerational transfer, the revitalization of traditional bodies and the interaction between ancestral knowledge and scientific knowledge to maintain ICCAs; and (iii) Reviewing the various relevant laws and institutions that could provide a gateway for appropriate ICCA support.  For recommendations and more information, please see the workshop report or contact Ms. Badia Sahmy at

Similarly, in Tanzania, a validation workshop brought 27 multi-level actors on March 2019. After the initial desk-review of Tanzania’s legal, policy and regulatory frameworks, the workshop provided discussions to balance conservation and the human rights of indigenous and local communities.   Participants were divided into four working groups and assigned with a question focusing on (i) Legal/policy reform, (ii) Resistance and engagement factors, (iii) Key factors for effective implementation of supportive provisions and (iv) Judgements that support or hinder IPLCs.  Recommendations made in the workshop will be incorporated in the research and report development process. For more details, please see the workshop report or contact Mr. Nehemiah Murusuri at

For more information about the ICCA-GSI, please click here.  You may also contact Mr. Terence Hay-Edie  at or Anna Lisa Jose at

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