Putting the cultures and rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local communities (IPLC) at the heart of the 2050 biodiversity strategy would deliver sustainable livelihoods and well being, and positive outcomes for biodiversity and climate, according to a new outlook on IPCL.
The “Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2” (LBO-2) Published on September 16, said that much of the world’s remaining biodiversity on IPLCs’ lands and waters has been nurtured through their distinct relationships with nature.
Forest Peoples Programme published the outlook 2 in collaboration with Centres of Distinction on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network, International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, and Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2 points out that IPLCs’ continued guardianship of their territories and resources required the States to legally recognise and guarantee the security of collective land tenure of these people and to respect their continued governance institutions and practices.
In the Outlook, they say that IPLCs propose changes towards more balanced relationships within societies and with nature through six key transitions:
· Cultural transitions towards diverse ways of knowing and being. Land transitions towards securing customary land tenure of IPLCs.
· Governance transitions towards inclusive decision-making and self-determined development.
· Incentives and financial transitions towards rewarding effective culturebased solutions.
· Economic transitions towards sustainable use and diverse local economies. ɐ Food transitions towards revitalising indigenous and local food systems.
The Outlook 2 says “all these six transitions are critical pathways to transformation —in diverse ways of knowing and being, in secure land tenure, in inclusive governance, in responsible finance and incentives, in sustainable economies and in local food systems—have now become imperatives for the transformation of failing social, cultural, economic, political and technological systems.”
On “Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2”, UN Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen said that IPLCs have long been deploying the kind of solutions the world needs to adopt. Stating that IPLCs are vital custodians of nature, she said “up to 80 per cent of forest biodiversity lies within indigenous people’s territories. This report recognizes the knowledge, innovations, practices, institutions and values of IPLCs in nature conservation, restoration and sustainable use.”
The report also noted that separation, overcoming dualism and imbalances in relationships between humans and nature was central to addressing the biodiversity and health crises, including the rise of zoonotic diseases and pandemics.
Meanwhile, Forest Peoples Programme Director James Whitehead said that the report was a powerful companion to the Global Biodiversity Outlook report in its review of achievements secured during the decade of the UN Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011–2020).
Convention on Biological Diversity Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema pointed out that LBO-2 is published at a critical time when the assessment of the implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the negotiation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework are on-going. He stressed that LBO-2 reminded that the emerging global biodiversity framework was an opportunity to reinforce the connection between nature and health.
Reduce direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
The LBO-2 points out that natural habitat, plants and animals and the benefits that people receive from nature are declining at an alarming rate. This is because of extractive industries and expansion of agribusiness fuelled by the current economic growth paradigm. The report said that IPLCs were central actors in several countries in sustainable agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, fisheries and as caretakers of habitats.
In the report, the analysts say that radical transformation in governance was required so that the role of IPLCs in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is recognised. There should be a change for accepting their contribution to protecting ecosystems.
The estimates show that IPLCs own and manage at least 50 per cent of the world’s land area, and many are working in policy fora and on the ground to defend their territories, manage their resources sustainably, and combat pollution, invasive alien species and the impacts of climate change. Despite this, the report points out that their lands and waters and biodiversity are under direct threats from industrial scale development and illegal incursions. Though these people are working hard to counter these threats and conserve their lands, they need more support in their efforts, the report notes. These people face increasing criminalisation and violence, intimidation, including assassinations of community leaders. The LBO-2 stresses on the support to be rendered to these communities to protect their lands, waters, territories and biodiversity by applying a human-rights-based approach.
Improve status of biodiversity
IPLCs are on the frontlines safeguarding genetic diversity, species diversity and ecosystem diversity. IPLCs also manage and enhance genetic diversity, especially in their highly diverse agroecological production systems. A radical transformation is needed from current conservation approaches that exclude and alienate IPLCs, to rights-based collaborative approaches that support and promote community-led conservation and customary sustainable use and that celebrate the mutual relations between nature and culture, the report said.
Enhance benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
For IPLCs, the ecosystems and habitats support their livelihoods and meet spiritual and cultural needs. However, these lands continue to be usurped and degraded by interventions to privatise and commodify these resources. Noting that indigenous and local knowledge was valuable in ecological restoration and resilience building, the report says that this knowledge continues to be undervalued and often neglected.
Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity-building.
IPLCs are poorly recognised in National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (NBSAPs). The participation of IPLCs’ effective participation at the national and local levels are yet to be developed.
IPLCs and biodiversity under threat
The report says that IPLCs are experiencing loss of biological and cultural diversity. “These losses stem from unsustainable global systems of values, knowledge, governance, production, consumption, technology, economics, incentives and trade, all underlain by unequal decision-making power regarding the future of nature and peoples,” the report says.