Since the beginning of the new millennium, in the year 2000, global interest has been steadily growing  for territories and areas governed, managed, and conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs). Supported by a growing body of literature and community experiences, ICCAs and their core elements are increasingly recognised in international policy fora, including those on biodiversity conservation and human rights.
The issues
Certain threats to ICCAs across the world are common and interlinked across political boundaries. The current global economic system threatens the integrity of ICCAs by imposing industrial forms of extraction, production, and consumption, including mining, the construction of infrastructure, monoculture plantations, and trawling. In addition to such direct industrial threats, pervasive social and cultural phenomena such as urbanisation and acculturation also threaten custodians of ICCAs by undermining customary laws, traditional and local languages, knowledge systems for food and water, livelihoods, and health and wellbeing. More broadly, indigenous peoples and local communities often face structural racism, oppression, violence, and other injuries to, and violations of, their human rights as members of ethnic or religious minorities, or in their actions when protecting their communities and territories against ​the specific threats affecting them.

Strategies and responses
 The ICCA Consortium is committed to responding to global threats, by documenting diverse experiences of ICCAs around the world; analysing legal, policy, and institutional frameworks that support and hinder ICCAs; exploring national, regional and international connections ​in support of ICCAs; and actively promoting the recognition of ICCAs in international policy. Even in the years preceding the ICCA Consortium’s official establishment, the people and organisations who became its Members and Honorary Members were actively engaged in international biodiversity and conservation law and policy, focusing on the ​Resolutions and Recommendations of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the decisions of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).  While the Consortium continues to engage in these processes, with particular emphasis on national and local implementation, it is also increasingly focusing on ICCAs in the context of other policy fora, including human rights, food sovereignty and land tenure, climate change, sustainable development, and the financial and private sectors. The ICCA Consortium’s working group on law and policy aims to coordinate and deepen these diverse efforts as a direct complement to action at the local, national, and regional levels.

Read more about the work of the ICCA Consortium here.

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