The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are the main sources of international biodiversity law and conservation policy, respectively, that also strongly recognise the rights and roles of indigenous peoples and local communities. In the CBD, this recognition is enshrined in Articles 8(j) and 10(c) and a wide range of decisions of the Conference of the Parties (COP) since the Convention entered into force in 1994. This includes recognition of ICCAs in several decisions since 2004, including in relation to protected areas, financial mechanisms and resource mobilisation, traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use, sustainable development, ecosystem conservation and restoration, climate change, agricultural biodiversity and taxonomy. In IUCN policy, recognition of ICCAs dates back to the 5th World Parks Congress held in Durban (South Africa) in 2003, which helped usher in a ‘new paradigm’ for protected areas, shifting away from only state-centric and exclusionary approaches to more diversified and equitable forms of governance and management, including ICCAs. IUCN members again recognised ICCAs in the 6th World Parks Congress in 2014 and in each quadrennial World Conservation Congress from 2004 to 2016.

With ICCAs widely recognised in both fora, the main priority is now to ensure full and effective implementation of the many supportive provisions at the national and local levels, and in turn to contribute to monitoring and assessments at the international level – particularly in the CBD (a binding treaty). Particular emphasis is placed on ensuring ICCAs are appropriately recognised and supported in accordance with the self-determined priorities and protocols of the ICCA custodians themselves – including through the development and dissemination of good practice guidance in close collaboration with the CBD Secretariat. Another priority is addressing past and continuing injustices in the conservation sector, including situations of overlap between ICCAs and protected areas, evictions from strictly protected areas, and militarised approaches to combatting illegal wildlife trade. The ICCA Consortium and its Members are working with strategic allies such as UN Special Rapporteurs on concrete measures and mechanisms at the international and national levels to help improve conservation actors’ accountability and compliance with international human rights law and standards. This is closely related to work on conservation justice under “Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Human Rights

Key International Instruments, Mechanisms and Reports
Events and Actions
Key Resources on ICCAs
Other Recommended Resources