Categories ICCA and conservation policy, ICCA on the international level, Indigenous people’s rights and human rights, Key policies

UN Special Rapporteur report on the impact of conservation measures on indigenous peoples’ rights

UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples: report to the UN General Assembly with thematic analysis of conservation measures and their impact on indigenous peoples’ rights (July 2016, A/71/229)

Available in 6 UN languages, here.

Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz’s report charts the legal developments and commitments and measures taken to advance a human rights-based paradigm in conservation. It identifies key remaining challenges and recommendations on how conservation can be developed in a manner that respects indigenous peoples’ rights and enhances sustainable conservation.

The report as a whole is highly relevant to ICCAs and to the work of the ICCA Consortium. The situation analysis and recommendations reiterate and underscore many of the key issues on which we work, including recognition of collective rights to traditional territories and addressing situations of overlapping protected areas. It also references publications by a number of ICCA Consortium members (including Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend, Stan Stevens, Aili Pyhälä, Marcus Colchester, Dermot Smyth, Harry Jonas, and Helen Tugendhat).

In Section IV/E on the Convention on Biological Diversity, the report identifies two COP Decisions on protected areas (Decision VII/28 and Decision XII/12) (para. 31), both of which refer to ICCAs. The Special Rapporteur also stressed that States and conservation organisations need to implement measures to recognise the rights of indigenous peoples “as a matter of priority” in view of Aichi Target 11 (para. 32).

In Section VI (“Paradigm shift since 2003”), the report identifies progress and continuing challenges reported by conservation organisations in advancing indigenous peoples’ rights. This provides an important link for the efforts of ICCA Consortium members Forest Peoples Programme and Natural Justice (among others) to promote the adoption by major conservation organisations of human rights standards for conservation and redress mechanisms, work which is expected to expand in 2017.

In Section VII/D (“Indigenous management of protected areas”), the report specifically refers to ICCAs in para. 66. It notes that IUCN has committed to advocating for recognition of “indigenous peoples and local community conserved territories and areas” in conservation policy as a new governance category, but acknowledges that only limited progress has been made towards their recognition in the past decade. It states that significant expansion of such areas, “coupled with solid partnerships with indigenous peoples for knowledge exchange, remain key opportunities for States and conservationists to operationalize the participation of indigenous peoples in conservation.”

All of the Recommendations (Section IX) are broadly relevant. Two in particular come close to recognising ICCAs, calling on conservation organisations to support indigenous peoples to develop and sustain their own conservation initiatives and traditional conservation measures (para. 81) and calling on donors to provide direct funding to support indigenous peoples’ own conservation initiatives (para. 84).