Recognising and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities

Summary Global Guidelines Technical and interactive resources

Recognising and respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories, is paramount for achieving Target 3.

Indigenous peoples and local communities play outsized roles in biodiversity conservation through their collective action, systems of government, transmission of knowledge, biocultural protocols and others. Yet in many places, their rights are not sufficiently recognized, respected or protected, including in the protected and other effective area-based conservation measures context.

Target 3 recognizes this in the commitment to “Recognizing and respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities, including over their traditional territories.” This is foundational for Target 3 (and Global Biodiversity Framework; GBF) implementation. In “Recognising and respecting rights,” recognizing rights refers to affirming and acknowledging rights, including inherent rights; respecting rights refers to the duty and responsibility not to violate or interfere with rights.

The collective and individual rights of Indigenous peoples and of local communities, including over their traditional territories, are recognized in a wide range of international instruments, as well as regional, and national and subnational statutory and customary laws and protocols. One key instrument, cited in the GBF, is the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – a cornerstone document for recognising rights.


Amongst the many relevant rights in relation to Target 3 implementation are rights to own, govern and manage lands, waters and territories; to participate in decision making; and to give or withhold Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

FPIC is an enshrined right of Indigenous peoples in United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – including in relation to lands and territories, cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property, adoption and implementation of legislative or administrative measures that may affect them, and effective redress where FPIC is not upheld.

FPIC of Indigenous peoples and local communities is also required in the GBF and earlier Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) decisions, specifically in relation to: Rights, knowledge, innovations, worldviews; Establishment, expansion, governance and management of protected areas; and in the Mo’otz Kuxtal Voluntary Guidelines on Traditional Knowledge.

In the context of CBD Article 8(j), traditional territories can be understood as “lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous peoples and local communities.” The new inclusion of “indigenous and traditional territories” requires some development of similar understanding, with the Article 8(j) definition providing a starting point for what this might mean and acknowledging at the same time that it is of central importance that the views and positions of Indigenous peoples and local communities (as major rightsholders) are given full consideration and priority when it comes to resolving this definition. Visit website here

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007.

The Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous Peoples of the world and it elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of Indigenous Peoples.

The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) is a collection of representatives from indigenous governments, indigenous non- governmental organizations and indigenous scholars and activists that organize around the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other important international environmental meetings to help coordinate indigenous strategies at these meetings, provide advice to the government parties, and influence the interpretation of government obligations to recognize and respect indigenous rights to the knowledge and resources.
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The ICCA Consortium collaborates with the IUCN Global Programme on Protected Areas for the completion of six national governance assessments for protected areas and “other effective area-based conservations measures” (OECMs) Read more

The ICCA Consortium grew out of the movement promoting equity in conservation in the decades around the turn of the Millennium. It was officially established in Switzerland in 2010 as an International Association under the Swiss Civil Code. It is a membership-based civil society organisation supported by an international semi-volunteer Secretariat based in twenty-two countries. Visit website here

Achieving the Global Biodiversity Framework through Guaranteeing the Roles, Rights, and Contributions of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are key partners for the successful implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework. As countries design their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), policymakers must ensure that IPLCs are able to fully and effectively contribute to the policy process and are central to its implementation.

This new brief, co-authored by two members of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (Viviana Figueroa and Ramiro Batzin) and developed by Conservation International and the GEF’s Inclusive Conservation Initiative, will help guide countries to ensure that their NBSAP development process and its implementation are rooted in a rights-based approach.

The Road Map for Advancing Rights and Equity in Conservation is the result of a 2024 expert workshop on rights and equity in the implementation of Target 3. It details actions considered to be most critical in creating momentum through 11 discrete but interacting areas of action. These areas are changing discourse around conservation; developing guidance to address gaps; building solidarity and connections; supporting conservation practices; changing the way we finance; reforming national policies and laws and advocating for such reform; engaging with the CBD and state parties; documenting and generating evidence; improving monitoring and reporting; and improving redress and grievance mechanisms.

Advancing equitable governance in area-based conservation, IUCN WCPA Issues Paper Series No. 3, provides an overview of the equitable governance element of Target 3 and suggests strategies that could deliver real progress. This paper focuses on five important developments in guidance and tools and in the context of area-based conservation since earlier CBD-endorsed guidance of 2018. In terms of context, this paper covers the cross-cutting commitments in the GBF to a human-rights based approach, respecting and protecting IP & LCs rights, and recognising different value systems of different stakeholders and rightsholders, and better understanding of enabling conditions for advancing equity, and strategies to improve them. In terms of guidance and tools, this paper covers the role of social safeguards for both mitigating risks of future negative impacts on IPs & LCs and nature and for increasing benefits for people and nature, and monitoring progress on the equitable governance element of Target 3.