Accurate description and documentation can help raise awareness about the ICCAs – territories of life for its custodian communities and clarify the values they hold, as well as the ways the community governs and cares for them. Both the outcome and the process of describing and documenting ICCAs can be powerful: self-reflection is a form of self-strengthening. A key aim here is for the communities to develop their own understanding of the crucial elements that need to be recorded and analysed to describe their own specific ICCAs, not generic ones. Clarifying territory boundaries and uses, and sharing stories about an ICCA ,can bring people together, including across generations. Documenting the basic information about an ICCA means collecting/ generating and recording/ storing relevant data for future reference. The data may include observations, pictures, lists, inventories, measurements, maps, videos, experimental results, results of visioning exercises, plans for the desired future and much else that is seen as important to the community and that the community will conserve as baseline information.
The custodian communities should be the main producer of the information and should decide on all matters related to it. In any case, no information about an ICCA should be produced, reproduced or distributed by external actors (organisations and individuals, including the facilitator) without the free, prior, and informed consent of the relevant custodian community.
It is important and useful that processes of documentation are followed up by monitoring, so that communities can be aware of progress as well as of new challenges and opportunities through time. An on-going self-monitoring and evaluation component should be coupled with any documentation initiative.
The ICCA Consortium believes that documenting territories of life is extremely important and is encouraging and supporting its Members to learn from one another and explain and multiply processes of documentation. It is also collaborating with the World Conservation and Monitoring Centre of UN Environment to register ICCAs internationally, in the International Registry of ICCA—territories of life and/or, as appropriate and desired, in the World Database of Protected (and Conserved) Areas.