A Bold New Frontier for Conservation 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 Peoples’ Conserved Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities ICCAs across the world, including forests, wetlands, and landscapes, village lakes, water catchment, rivers and coastal stretches and marine areas.

The history of conservation and sustainable use in many of these areas is much older than for 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.

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. Some governments have followed suit. Others had already included them within their official Protected Area Systems.

Having played a substantive role in promoting the broad conservation policy reassessment mentioned above, individuals and organisations members of TGER, TILCEPA and the ICCA Consortium, with the support of SwedBio, GEF Small Grants Programme and GTZ, got involved in a process to: deepen the understanding of the ICCA phenomenon with respect to varying historical/ regional contexts; identify and support field-based initiatives where ICCAs can be crucially safeguarded, enabled, strengthened and/or promoted in practice; and support consequent national, regional and international policy.

via – ICCA – Home page.