Today, custodian communities and their ICCAs face unprecedented stresses and threats arising from the socio-ecological changes sweeping the world.  Increasingly, however, they are also being recognised as among the best hopes for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity left on the planet… The ICCA Consortium is responding to threats and opportunities by actively upholding ICCAs by promoting:

ICCA self-strengthening processes at local level

Through self-strengthening processes (SSPs), custodian indigenous peoples and local communities (‘communities’ for short) define and control a course of action to become:

  • more self-aware and knowledgeable about their ICCAs and their importance/significance
  • more appreciative of their history, culture and governance institutions
  • better able to govern and manage their ICCAs with integrity and vision
  • wiser, more responsible, and more capable of providing positive responses to ICCA opportunities and threats, learning from experience, innovating and preventing, and solving problems

The same process is expected to advance territories that:

  • are better conserved, e.g., protected, sustainably used and/or restored
  • have higher ecological integrity and resilience
  • provide better support for the custodian communities’ livelihoods, and material and non-material well-being

Finally, and importantly, SSPs are expected to enhance the connection between a custodian community and its territory.

A typical process involves:

  1. Enhancing ICCA awareness and planning a self-strengthening process (SSP)
  2. Describing and documenting the ICCA
  3. Assessing and analysing ICCA security and resilience
  4. Developing ICCA initiatives/ project proposals
  5. Self-monitoring for continued learning and strengthening
  6. Communicating about the ICCA
  7. Networking and advocating for appropriate ICCA recognition and support

Please find here a document offering comprehensive Guidance to ICCA Self-strengthening processes. The document is also available in Spanish and in French.

Networking, peer-support and advocacy at national and sub-national level

Through networking, peer-support and advocacy at national and sub-national level, custodian indigenous peoples and local communities become, as relevant:

  • better connected with other communities and other dependable friends and allies in civil society, government, etc.
  • better recognised, defended, respected, and appropriately supported locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally

ICCA Networks that come together for advocacy are often engaged in:

  •  diplomatic action, in particular policy advocacy in various types of meetings and parliamentary hearings
  •  legal action, from local reconciliation processes, to legal cases in national courts, to appeals brought to the attention of regional human rights courts
  •  demonstrations and civil disobedience in intractable or extreme cases, including marches and protests, strikes and picket lines, road blockades, and human barricades

Please read more here: networking/ creating a critical mass for change


Networking, peer-support and advocacy at international level

Through networking, peer-support, and advocacy at the international level, custodian indigenous peoples and local communities become:

  • better connected with other communities and other dependable friends and allies active in the international policy arena


and their conserved territories also become:

  • better recognized, defended, respected and appropriately supported in international policy (…with crucial repercussions at national level)


The ICCA Consortium is active in providing effective international support to ICCAs by organizing and developing:

  • ICCA-relevant events at Conferences of the Parties to international conventions and other international policy meetings—from presentations on innovative subjects to entire Streams of technical events, from press events to field visits
  • technical publications and films, from technical guidelines and Policy Briefs to power point presentations, posters, and short and long videos
  • demonstrations including marches and flash events.

Please read more on our law and policy groups

First published on 06/05/2016, and last updated on 05/08/2019