Enhancing a custodian community’s awareness of its own ICCA is the very first step to strengthening it. This starts with some well-organised grassroots discussions in the community, i.e. discussions within existing culture-based institutions— such as general assemblies, councils of elders, natural groupings and associations— which are consistent with the normal social and cultural life of the community. Through that means, the community has time to consider and decide internally whether it actually has an ICCA and it wishes to strengthen it, possibly beginning by some efforts to document its existence and communicate about that.

During these discussions, an external facilitator may be useful to ask questions about the ICCA characteristics that may or may not be present locally. The community may be asked to make explicit its connection with its territory, its existing governance system (if any) and the resulting impact in terms of nature conservation and community well-being.  This is the moment to understand whether the ICCA is ‘defined’, ‘disrupted’, or ‘desired’. The custodian community should discuss at its own pace whether it relates to being an ‘ICCA’, whether it is interested in the proposed self-strengthening process and – if so – how it would like to engage.

Read more in the publication: ICCA Self-Strengthening ICCAs – Guidance on a process and resources for custodian indigenous peoples and local communities, Module 1.