Note for Press Conference at CBD COP12 7 October 2014
ICCAs are the World’s Best Bet for Achieving Many Aichi Targets
New publication shows the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities to meeting the Aichi Targets of CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20
Indigenous peoples’ and local community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs) are the world’s most ancient form of conservation and sustainable use. In traditional or new forms, they may cover well over 10% of the earth, as much or more than official protected areas.
A new publication released at the CBD COP12 at Pyeongchang, Korea, shows that ICCAs already contribute to all the 20 Aichi Targets that are part of the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20. This includes conservation of ecosystems and species, sustaining livelihoods, reducing poverty, dealing with climate change, providing security to vulnerable people including women and children, and enhancing the use of all forms of knowledge. With appropriate recognition and adequate support, this contribution could be greatly enhanced. This could be one of the most effective ways for Parties to the CBD to plug the gap between the targets and actual achievement, a gap that has been highlighted in recent reports including the Global Biodiversity Outlook.
ICCAs are embedded in the rights of indigenous peoples’ and local communities to their territories, self-determination, and cultural identity. They also reflect the recognition of the crucial role of such peoples and communities in sustaining ecosystems, species, and ecosystem functions. While thereby helping to achieve conservation, their primary motivations and objectives are ethical, economic, political, cultural, material, and/or spiritual; often they are simply a people’s or community’s way of life.
ICCAs contribute to the Aichi Targets in many ways. They:
• embody and help spread keen awareness of the values of biodiversity (Target 1)
• contribute to appropriate well-being, and to plans for national development, sustainability, poverty reduction, and biodiversity (Targets 2, 4, 17)
• involve systems of rules that combine incentives and disincentives for sustaining biodiversity (Target 3)
• contribute significantly to reducing natural habitat loss, sustain fisheries and aquatic ecosytems including coral reefs, and conserve threatened species (Targets 5, 6, 10, 12)
• are the world’s best chance of achieving a massive increase in conservation coverage in ways that are equitable and effective (Target 11)
• encompass sustainably managed production ecosystems including agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, and the domesticated and related wild diversity contained in them (Targets 7, 13)
• use innovative strategies to restore and safeguard ecosystem functions, including reducing or eliminating pollution and tackling invasive species (Targets 8, 9, 14)
• provide climate resilience through connectivity, migration corridors, mitigation and adaptation of various kinds (Target 15)
• are powerful means of achieving equitable access and secure benefits for communities that need these (Target 16)
• embody sophisticated and diverse forms of knowledge, including traditional and modern science and technology (Targets 18, 19)
• present innovative means of financing and provisioning (including through non-financial, voluntary means) biodiversity conservation and sustainable use of biological resources.
But ICCAs face multiple threats: lack of tenurial security, extractive industry and inappropriate development, imposition of inappropriate land uses including top-down government protected areas and industrial agriculture, internal inequalities and injustices relating to gender, class, caste, ethnicity, race, and others, demographic and cultural changes eroding traditional cultural values, and incursion of external markets and inappropriate market-based mechanisms. These are often exacerbated, or made possible, due to lack of recognition of ICCAs, especially at national and sub-national levels. Much more has to be done to provide adequate and appropriate recognition to ICCAs.
With appropriate recognition and support, the role of ICCAs in achieving the Aichi Targets could be significantly enhanced. This would especially include the following steps, as requested or required by the relevant peoples and communities, with free and prior informed consent, and at the pace and time that they comfortable with. Several of the decisions of CBD forums already reflect recognition by Parties to take these actions, but urgent implementation is required.
• Recognition of their collective territorial and resource rights, and governance institutions, including in national laws and policies
• Recognition of the local/traditional knowledge and practices, protection against their piracy and mis-appropriation, and their synergy with appropriate outside/modern knowledge systems
• Facilitation in documentation, assessment, outreach, capacity enhancement, and public awareness of ICCAs
• Help in resisting threats, especially from powerful industrial and commercial forces
• Support to appropriate livelihood activities, skills and new knowledge to enhance the economic, social and political basis of ICCAs, in particular for younger generations
• Incorporation into systems of protected areas, other effective area-based measures, or other networks of conservation as appropriate
• Facilitating the empowerment of women, landless people, minorities, and other weaker sections of peoples/communities, to take part in decision-making
• Support to networking among ICCAs, and alliances among indigenous peoples, local communities, human rights advocates and development and conservation practitioners
The publication being released at COP12 is ICCAs and Aichi Targets: The Contribution of Indigenous Peoples and Local Community Conserved Territories and Areas to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-20 (Aichi Targets), by Ashish Kothari, and Aurelie Neumann, published by ICCA Consortium, CBD Alliance, Kalpavriksh and CENESTA, 2014.