Space to Place New Steps of Change: An Analysis of International, Regional, and National Laws Essential to Securing Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Territories and Areas
Presented by Natural Justice, ICCA Consortium, Kalpavriksh, and Global Forest Coalition
Harry Jonas, Natural Justice, explained that the legal review commissioned by the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCA) Consortium investigated how law and jurisprudence both supported and hindered indigenous peoples and local communities (ILCs) in their conservation efforts, and explored how ILCs engage with these legal frameworks. He underlined key conclusions of the global review, including that legal recognition and support of ICCAs remain weak or absent, and that IPLCs often have difficulties accessing judicial systems.
Colonel Souleye Ndiaye, Director of National Parks, Senegal, discussed community-managed natural reserves and sacred sites, observing that there is limited judicial recognition of how well-managed these Protected Areas (PAs) are. He illustrated how local communities have used decentralization laws to formally establish ICCAs, and stressed the importance of incorporating local and gender-based institutions in conservation governance.
Samson Pedragosa, Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID) illustrated how remaining forest-cover, PAs, and ICCAs overlap in the Philippines. He provided an analysis of how the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, and the Philippine Mining Act impact Indigenous peoples’ rights and their ancestral domain delineation claims, often in contradictory directions. He concluded that recent efforts to harmonize overlapping policies often led to an erosion of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.
Dau-Jye Lu, Tao Foundation, stressed the challenge of raising awareness of ICCAs within the legal community, not only in terms of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, but also as a tool for biodiversity conservation.
Neema Pathak Broome, Kalpavriksh, described challenges ILCs have in claiming rights under the Forest Right Act, including: lack of trust, complicated filing processes, inadequate training, and poor facilitation by government departments.
Simone Lovera, Global Forest Coalition, summarized lessons from the Americas. She discussed key recommendations including; the importance of a rights-based approach; the rejection of the colonial doctrine that denies rights to indigenous peoples; and that successful cases are based on the strength of traditional governance institutions.