A great part of the planet’s remaining biodiversity is found within terrestrial, coastal and marine territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities, to which we broadly refer as “ICCAs” or “territories of life”. These territories of life, however, are under increasing threat, as are the indigenous peoples and communities who protect and defend them. Natural resource-intensive industrial activities such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mineral and hydrocarbon extraction, and infrastructure and energy developments are deeply and increasingly affecting their integrity and resilience. Such threats can be an “existential threat” to territories of life and the communities for whom they are essential for their identity, culture and livelihoods. The ICCA Consortium’s mission requires that such threats to territories of life, and the related threats to those who defend them, are an integral part of its policies and actions.
During the 2018 General Assemblyin Bishoftu, Ethiopia, we adopted a Defending Territories of life and their defenders policy. The French version is accessible here. The Spanish version is currently being translated. This policy and action plan, together with our engagement with other networks and alliances, aim at addressing these complex issues, with a particular focus on the collective and community dimensions.
As part of our internal discussions, we have received many helpful inputs from our Members as well as experts such as UN Special Rapporteurs. For example, the video commentary of Prof. John Knox, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, provided for the Consortium’s XIth General Assembly may be viewed here.