Categories Blog, Europe and Russia, Events, Events organised or co-organised by the consortium, General Assemblies, Spain

The VIth ICCA Consortium General Assembly

The main gathering of the Consortium in 2013 will take place on October 3-7 in Valdeavalleno, a small rural community in the province of Soria, central Spain. The meeting will begin with a full day to discuss technical issues of relevance for ICCAs (mutual learning and exchanges of ideas and skills). It will continue with field visits with Spanish colleagues to a few examples of common governance of natural resources in Spain. The actual VIth General Assembly (GA) of the ICCA Consortium will take place on October 6. All Members and Honorary members are welcome to attend in person or via Skype.

As part of the General Assembly, a number of reports will be discussed – including in depth country reports on ICCA progress, reports on current and past initiatives, the membership, the financial status and resources, the communication system, etc. A strategic outlook – with priorities and key activities for 2014 – will be developed at the meeting. Elections for a renewed Steering Committee will also take place.

If you would like to attend via Skype, please inform Aurélie Neumann

 before October 5th.

For any question, please contact Emma Courtine 

 before October 5th, the ICCA Consortium in charge of the GA logistics.

Please also visit our dedicated webpage here.

Why in Spain?

By: Sergio Couto González, ICCA Consortium Regional Coordinator for South and West Europe

This year our General Assembly will take place on October 3-7 in Valdeavellano de Tera (Soria province): a Spanish little village with 205 inhabitants located in the outskirts of “Sierra de Urbión y Cebollera”. This area is quite famous in terms of governance and environment. This is a region with many “Montes de Socios”, Page 4 of 25

an old collective management and property model covering 89,679 ha and involving thousands of local co-owners only in Soria province. This model has been very successful in terms of biodiversity conservation and equal sharing of resources during centuries, but is facing nowadays severe problems related with depopulation, loss of traditional culture and lack of legal recognition. Fortunately there is an impressive project (“Montes de Socios” project) looking to gather all the documents and federate all the persons (many of them already emigrated) involved in their collective property and management, as well as to successfully promote the recovering of many “Juntas Rectoras”, their traditional governance bodies.

Today, Spain is experiencing a strong economic crisis that has changed the mind of many of its citizens. The confidence and popularity on politicians has dropped to minimum levels as their management, dictated by party and economic interest groups, shows – now more than ever – their absolute lack of commitment with public interests. This is leading to a rediscover of the self-governance concept in a country with a very rich and strong culture on common uses and property. Spanish society is organising in many fronts, and one of the most promising in terms of sustainability and governance is the revival of “The Commons” as a trending topic on current urban and rural social movements. We hope to be able during our meeting to give you all a little bit of this energetic and hopeful “flavour” and help this way to our inspiring ICCA movement all around the world. Welcome to Valdeavellano!

Recognition and Support of ICCAs in Spain” – an overview of the current situation of ICCAs in Spain: 

“Montes de Socios” Project web page (in Spanish):

Documentary on the “Montes de Socios” (in Spanish):

Various documents to be discussed in Valdeavellano

Policy Briefs

Last year at the General Assembly, it was decided to develop – within the 2013 overall work plan – a set of policy briefs. They were to answer the need for in-depth analysis and information systematization on ICCA-related issues like land rights, economic valuation of nature, alternative financial tools to support ICCAs, overlap between ICCAs & protected areas, contribution of ICCAs to Aichi Targets, or demonstration of ICCAs’ conservation effectiveness. Three of those policy briefs are currently in the drafting process and will be discussed at the GA:

1) ICCAs & Protected Areas – This document will recommend appropriate means of recognition and respect for the many ICCAs over which state declared and governed protected areas have been superimposed. Stan Stevens ( is preparing it and is still seeking information about good practices and specific cases and issues. In particular, he is eager to hear about cases where the governance authority for protected areas is been effectively shared with indigenous peoples and local communities or where their governance authority over zones or particular activities within these protected areas has been recognized through law, legally-binding MoUs, management plans, and other means.

2) ICCAs & Aichi Targets – This document explores the contribution of ICCAs to the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20, specifically its Aichi Targets. ICCAs already contribute to most or all of the Targets, and given appropriate recognition and support, could do so in a more effective and widespread manner. The Briefing Note will describe this contribution in the case of each of the Targets, with suitable examples. It is hoped that this will be jointly published by the ICCA Consortium and the CBD Secretariat by early 2014. For further details, and if you would like to contribute, please contact Ashish Kothari at

3) Markets versus non-market based mechanisms: how to support ICCAs? – Are markets in environmental services a useful way to support ICCAs or is it better to stick to conventional non-market based approaches? To provide policy-makers and communities some clarity on this question the ICCA Consortium, in collaboration with the Global Forest Coalition, has produced two short briefing papers, one targeting policy-makers and one providing information for communities themselves. The briefing papers conclude that market-based approaches might benefit some communities, but in general they tend to marginalize indigenous peoples, local communities and women, as these groups tend to have less money to buy and invest in environmental services and weak land tenure rights, so they can easily become the victim of green land grabbing. These groups also tend to have less capacity to compete in complicated environmental services markets. Non-market based approaches like the legal recognition of ICCAs and the redirection of perverse incentives appear to form a more straightforward and effective way to support ICCAs than market-based schemes. The briefing papers are available for review at WEBLINK. They will be presented at two side events that will be organized at the upcoming meetings on traditional knowledge (8j) and scientific matters of the Convention on Biodiversity, which take place from 7 to 18 October in Montreal, Canada. For more information, please contact Simone Lovera at

Operational guidelines

A document to guide the concrete functioning of the Consortium has been drafted in January 2012. It sets out:

 The ethical foundations of the ICCA Consortium

 Criteria for inviting and/or accepting Members, Honorary members and Partners

 Procedures on becoming a Member, Honorary members or Partner

 Procedural rights, including about terminating membership

 General Assembly attendance

 Procedures about Funders

 Procedures about expenditures and disbursements

It has only been informally used since then, as it hasn’t been formally approved yet. It will therefore be discussed during this coming GA and Members, Honorary members, Regional Coordinators, Steering Committee and staff are encouraged to provide their comments.

The operational guidelines can be downloaded in English, in French, and in Spanish.