Indigenous peoples and local communities, both sedentary and mobile, have for millennia played a critical role in conserving a variety of natural environments and species. They have done this for a variety of purposes, economic as well as cultural, spiritual and aesthetic. There are today many thousand Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs) across the world, including sacred forests, wetlands, and landscapes, village lakes, catchment forests, river and coastal stretches and marine areas. The history of conservation and sustainable use in many of these areas is much older than government-managed protected areas, yet they are often neglected or not recognised in official conservation systems. Many of them face enormous threats.

Fortunately, there is also a growing recognition of ICCAs and acknowledgement of their role in the conservation of biodiversity. Some governments have integrated them into their official Protected Area Systems, and the Vth World Parks Congress and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas of the CBD accepted them as legitimate conservation sites that deserve support and, as appropriate, inclusion in national and international systems.

via IUCN – Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas.

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