Biodiversity and finance: building on common ground with customary rights-holders

An Ifugao woman on her way to collect young rice plants for transplanting into one of her family’s paddy fields in the Philippines. Credit: Chris Stowers
Global finance for biodiversity has grown significantly over the past 10 years and is now estimated at between US$78 billion and $147 billion per year. However, it is greatly outweighed by public subsidies and broader financial flows that drive biodiversity loss, which are estimated at between US$500 billion and several trillion per year. Furthermore, while the contributions of Indigenous peoples and local communities are widely recognised as critically important for protecting biodiversity, they are often negatively impacted by biodiversity finance, and receive little direct support for their efforts.

This briefing provides an overview of biodiversity finance and makes the case for increasing support to customary rights-holders. It additionally describes the financial flows driving biodiversity destruction and shows how they harm local people as well as nature, and outlines six key areas where the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework could increase the effectiveness of biodiversity finance by building on common ground with customary rights-holders.

This briefing has been produced as part of a series co-authored by Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and partner organisations to expand on, and explore the policy implications of, the research and findings in the 2nd edition of the Local Biodiversity Outlooks. It is intended to contribute towards the evidence-based negotiations and dialogues towards the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Read the briefing. 

Biodiversity Day 2021: We are part of the solution

This year’s theme for Biodiversity Day, we are part of the solution, recognises the important role that Indigenous peoples and local communities play in protecting and enhancing the world’s biological diversity. This page brings together messages from Indigenous and local communities marking Biodiversity Day 2021.

Comic: Let’s Go Back Home: Revisiting Indigenous Knowledge

Video: Antiguan Senator Maureen Hyman Payne visiting the Sweets Village Uncovered community conservation site & discussing the important role local communities play in supporting biodiversity

Video: “When we hear ‘we are part of the solution’, we think about preserving the way of life of our ancestors.” Indigenous people in Suriname reflecting on Biodiversity Day 2021

Indigenous Karen women in Thailand

Indigenous people in Russia

 

Briefing: Re-thinking nature-based solutions

Baiga women collecting leaves. Credit - ephotocorp

The term ‘nature-based solutions’ is both widely used and controversial. It remains ill-defined, despite some high-profile efforts to clarify it, and some of its most enthusiastic supporters include industries and governments responsible for much of the historical and ongoing damage to the planet and communities worldwide.

This briefing looks at key areas in which nature-based solutions need more clarity and rigour if they are to play an effective and transformational role in driving financial and technical support where it is needed most to tackle the global environmental crisis, to uphold human rights and to enable a transition to sustainable economies and societies. The briefing also makes a series of recommendations for the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Read the briefing.

World Wildlife Day 2021: Learning from indigenous peoples and local communities to restore our relationship with nature

Baiga women collecting leaves. Credit - ephotocorp

Today, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, the Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network, the Centres of Distinction on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, Forest Peoples Programme and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity are marking World Wildlife Day by publishing the digital version of Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2 (LBO-2) in English, Spanish and French. 

LBO-2 is a landmark piece of collaborative research and analysis that features contributions from over 50 indigenous and local authors and communities. The report highlights the critical roles played by indigenous peoples and local communities in maintaining and enhancing biological and cultural diversity and outlines indigenous and local perspectives on the transformational changes needed in order to realise the vision of a world living in harmony with nature.

“From connectedness to nature comes the drive to safeguard it. From valuing our natural and cultural heritage comes the drive to ensure it is passed on. These are the things we learn in school and at home, from our peers and elders.” 

Josefa Tauli, Global Youth Biodiversity Network

The theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day, Forests and livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet, foregrounds the importance of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as the challenges they face as a result of insecure tenure, discrimination, climate change, declining biodiversity and the continued expansion of extractive industries. We know, for instance, that

  • At least 50% of the world’s land is collectively managed by indigenous peoples and local communities under customary tenure systems. Only 10% of these lands are legally secured.
  • The lands of indigenous peoples and local communities contain much of the world’s remaining biodiversity, and biodiversity managed by indigenous peoples and local communities is declining less rapidly than in other areas of the world.

As negotiations towards the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework continue, LBO-2 demonstrates that to protect biodiversity at any scale, indigenous peoples and local communities’ own territories and systems of governance must be recognised. 

“Today, as an elder of the Wapichan people, I call on our young leaders to diligently follow the ways of our ancestors in keeping our communities and our precious lands and resources healthy for the future of our people and the world. The earth is our mother so we need to take care of her. Let us make sure that our actions today and visions for tomorrow account for our people, our lands and our resources.  I call on governments to reflect and take into consideration policies and actions that negatively impact and destroy nature. One big step governments can take is give our people title to the land, territories, and resources.” 

Chief Kokoi, Wapichan elder (read the full statement on World Wildlife Day below)

In a series of six key transitions, LBO-2 explores the lessons drawn from the rich cases it contains to outline key changes that we need to see in our economic, financial and production systems, in governance, in land ownership and use, and in how we understand and use knowledge. The lessons drawn out here have much to offer policy makers as renewed commitments to climate change mitigation are being made and our global community confirms how the biodiversity crisis will be met.

Explore the digital report here.

Statement from Chief Kokoi, Wapichan elder, on World Wildlife Day 2021

“It is common knowledge that Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories are the last sanctuaries where pristine forest and healthy fresh waters rich in flora and fauna can still be found. These fragile ecosystems and habitats play an important role in the culture of our Wapichan People. Our traditional lands and territories are under threat like none before through climate change and extractive industries. 

With the understanding of the challenges we face today, we have developed a management plan to help us to maintain this delicate balance of interdependency. The Wapichan people continue to fight for the security of our traditional land and the landscapes within which wildlife needs to thrive. 

This struggle faces many challenges: the lack of political will to resolve Indigenous Peoples’ land issues leaves large tracts of lands insecure and without legal protections. Policies promoting and supporting large scale agro projects and extractive industries on these lands significantly add to the destruction of key ecosystems and habits. They heighten the threat to survival of our people and the wildlife that supports our livelihoods.

Climate change has significantly altered our understanding about nature, our seasons have become confusing. And we see this confusion in the life of our forest, our plants, our fish, our birds and animals. Due to these unfavourable and unpredictable conditions, our wildlife and the environment which they depend on are now under extreme pressure to survive.  

Today, as an elder of the Wapichan people, I call on our young leaders to diligently follow the ways of our ancestors in keeping our communities and our precious lands and resources healthy for the future of our people and the world. The earth is our mother so we need to take care of her. Let us make sure that our actions today and visions for tomorrow account for our people, our lands and our resources.  I call on governments to reflect and take into consideration policies and actions that negatively impact and destroy nature. One big step governments can take is to give our people title to the land, territories, and resources.”

Event: The ways forward – indigenous and local perspectives on our biodiversity crisis

Restoring the woodland. Credit: Verdegaia

This event explored the vital contributions made by indigenous peoples and local communities to the protection of biodiversity.

 

Ahead of the UN Summit on Biodiversity – aimed at accelerating action on biodiversity for sustainable development – this event explored the vital contributions made by indigenous peoples and local communities to the protection of biodiversity.

The event brought together experts from the UN and representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities who discussed new research into these contributions, their importance, and what can be done to support them.

Speaker included:

  • Joji Carino, co-lead author of Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2
  • Debbie Gowensmith, co-founder of Kua’aina Ulu ‘Auamo, Hawaii
  • Miguel Guimaraes, FECONAU, Peru
  • Peter Kitelo, Cheptikale Indigenous Peoples Development Programme, Kenya
  • Tonio Sadik, Assembly of First Nations, Canada
  • John Scott, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Sefa Tauli, Global Youth Biodiversity Network

Watch the event here.

Press release: Islands of nature – the contributions of indigenous and local communities to conserving the world’s biodiversity

  • The world is facing unprecedented challenges from biodiversity loss and climate change, and one million species are at risk of extinction.
  • Some of the world’s most biodiverse areas are found within the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • More than a quarter of the global land area is traditionally owned, managed, used, or occupied by indigenous peoples, and has been for millennia.

Ahead of the UN Biodiversity Summit, more than 50 indigenous and community authors have contributed to a new report, providing their perspectives on what should be done to bend the curve of biodiversity loss and change our direction of travel. This report, the 2nd edition of Local Biodiversity Outlooks (LBO-2), is a landmark collaborative piece of research and analysis, and acts as a sister publication to the 5th edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said:

“LBO-2 embodies an optimism that the destruction of Nature and the dramatic loss of biodiversity and cultural diversity can be successfully reversed, by embracing the values, and building on the collective and local actions of the World’s indigenous peoples and local communities.”

A Fulani family watering seedlings in Mali. Credit: Giacomo Pirozzi.
A Fulani family watering seedlings in Mali. Credit: Giacomo Pirozzi.

The LBO-2 publication assesses progress against all 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets which expressed global ambitions between 2011 and 2020. It finds that the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities have too often been neglected and marginalised, signifying global underachievement in meeting a majority of these goals.

In a statement, the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity said, “In order to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, we need to bend the curve of inequality and ensure the equitable sharing of benefits and costs. To achieve the vision 2050, there is a need for a paradigm shift in terms of values at the core of society that influence their behaviour for a transformation towards a responsible and sustainable society.”

The authors of this publication argue that future global biodiversity goals must embed the vital role of indigenous peoples and local communities in protecting biological and cultural diversity.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment Report on the state of the world’s biodiversity stated that “nature managed by indigenous peoples and local communities is under increasing pressure…but declining less rapidly than in other areas of the world.”

Increasingly, these ‘islands’ of great biological and cultural diversity found on indigenous and local community lands are being surrounded by declining resilience in vast tracts of the earth. This difference in biodiversity directly corelates with the value systems through which societies view nature.

“Indigenous peoples don’t see nature as separate from people,” said Lakpa Nuri Sherpa of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and member of International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB).

“We interact with nature every day, and we think carefully how we manage our resources – we have spiritual and sacred relationships with our natural resources, which means we must manage our lands in a sustainable way so we can pass it on to the next generation.

“For this reason, we must continue to fight for the rights to our lands, territories and resources – if we don’t have rights, if we are attacked, we cannot protect our forests – they take the resources from our lands, but we care for these lands.

“Without security for our collective land rights, the land can be exploited, nature loses out, and there’s nothing to pass on to the next generation,” he said.

This link to security of tenure is threaded through the findings in LBO-2, highlighting that protecting biodiversity at all scales must embed indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ own territories and systems of governance and management.

The LBO-2 reveals local solutions to the pressing global challenges, developed, implemented and sustained by indigenous peoples and communities.

“Indigenous peoples’ values and knowledge provide insights for reciprocal human-nature relationships amidst the crisis of biodiversity loss and climate change,” said Joji Cariño, (Philippines) of Forest Peoples Programme, representing Centres of Distinction on Indigenous and Local Knowledge and a Member of IIFB.

“Biodiversity needs the voices of indigenous peoples,” she said. “Putting the cultures and rights of IPLCs at the heart of the 2050 biodiversity strategy would deliver sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing, and positive outcomes for biodiversity and climate.”

LBO-2 is released during crucial negotiations towards a post-2020 global biodiversity framework, and the findings presented here are of fundamental importance to the outcome of those negotiations. The authors demonstrate through grounded cases that effective conservation and restoration of our natural world happens through a mosaic of locally tested and proven systems of sustainable use. And this contributes to resilience, where locally grounded food systems can provide sustainable and nutritious food for our families and communities in good times and bad times. But support for these solutions is needed.

“In order for the 2050 vision to be successful, the contribution of all sectors must be taken into account,” said Ramiro Batzin, Co-Coordinator of the IIFB. “In our case, it must be in line with indigenous worldviews that place emphasis on the intrinsic relationship between human beings, Mother Nature and the universe, and the essential link that exists between nature and culture.”


Background

The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO5), published by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), offers an authoritative overview of the state of nature. It is a final report card on progress against 20 global biodiversity goals agreed to in 2010 with a 2020 deadline, and offers lessons learned for getting on track.

Local Biodiversity Outlooks (LBO-2) presents the perspectives and experiences of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) on the current social-ecological crisis, and their contributions to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 and to the renewal of nature and cultures. The first edition (LBO-1) was produced in 2016 as a complement to the fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-4) and has become a key source of evidence about the actions and contributions of IPLCs towards achieving the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Following up on the publication of the first global assessment of nature and biodiversity in 2019, which suggested that IPLC lands are ‘islands of nature in a sea of decline’, this publication points to the reasons for these slower rates of decline and provides powerful recommendations about how to support these local efforts and to re-think our global relationships with our planet.

The 2nd edition of Local Biodiversity Outlooks also addresses transformation towards a more reciprocal and balanced relationships between humans and nature. Outlining 6 key transitions underpinning such a journey, the report provides concrete and real steps that can be taken towards meeting biodiversity goals and our global commitments on climate change and on sustainable development.


Note to media outlets

Panellists and experts from this session are available for interview. Images are available on request. Please contact: Tom Dixon, Communications Manager, Forest Peoples Programme (tdixon@forestpeoples.org / +44 7876 397915)

We will be holding a full press briefing on LBO-2 on 23 September, where contributing authors and experts will be available for comment: Please register here for the press briefing.

Event: Launch of the 2nd edition of Local Biodiversity Outlooks

The 2nd edition of Local Biodiversity Outlooks, a landmark collaborative piece of research and analysis which acts as a companion publication to the Global Biodiversity Outlook, was launched on September 16th 2020 as part of the Special Virtual Sessions for SBSTTA-24 and SBI-3 organised by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Watch the event here. 

World Environment Day 2020: three lessons from indigenous peoples and local communities on restoring our relationship with nature

World Environment Day is an opportunity to not only celebrate nature, but the peoples and communities who protect and steward it worldwide. Here, three lessons from indigenous and local communities in Colombia, the Day’s host, are highlighted: women’s knowledge is critical for protecting biodiversity; frontline communities’ efforts are defending their human rights and collective territories preventing further losses of biodiversity, and culture and traditional knowledge are vital for sustainable use and ecological restoration.

Read more on Forest Peoples Programme’s website. 

Sign up to be notified when the second edition is published

The second edition of Local Biodiversity Outlooks will be published this year: sign up to be notified when it goes live.

 

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Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2 – peer review now closed

Sorry, peer review is now closed.

 

We welcome your thoughts, comments and review of LBO2.

How to provide feedback:

  1. Download the Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2 (Draft 1):
  2. Download and complete the peer review form:
  3. Once complete, please send form to: biodiversity (at) forestpeoples (dot) org

 

How to fill in the feedback form

Please use the peer review form to submit comments to the ‘Local Biodiversity Outlooks 2 – Draft 1’.

  • Use section 1 (the first box) for general comments on the overall document and/or:
  • use box on the second page for specific comments.
  • send form to: biodiversity (at) forestpeoples (dot) org

Note: Deadline for comments: 6 Jan 2020