Strategic Goal B

Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use


Why the goal is important to indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs)

Biodiversity loss and unsustainable use have led to severe hardship among IPLCs and threaten the very survival of those who meet their daily needs directly from the local environment. Deforestation and reduced access to forest resources have left many IPLCs without a secure source of food and livelihoods. Unsustainable fishing is damaging not only to biodiversity but also to the survival of those who rely on aquatic resources for their basic needs. Environmental pollution directly affects the health and wellbeing of many IPLCs, and together with the spread of Invasive Alien Species (IAS), also threatens the cultural and ecological integrity of their societies, lands and resources. Many IPLCs are already experiencing severe impacts of climate change, and some have suffered forced relocations linked to melting permafrost and rising sea levels.

Experiences of IPLCs and contributions to the goal

IPLCs’ customary systems, as related to their land and resources, have immense potential to contribute to efforts to reduce pressures on biodiversity and develop more sustainable forms of use. For example, research has shown that community-managed forests in the tropics have lower deforestation rates than strict protected areas; that local rule-making autonomy is associated with improved forest management; that given sufficient land, traditional shifting cultivation in South and South-east Asia is sustainable; that traditional fire management often benefits biodiversity, and that many customary fishery systems limit harvest levels and impacts. Customary systems can inform more sustainable, ecosystem-focused practices on a wider scale. Through their customary systems of land and resource use, together with safeguarding Indigenous Territories and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs), IPLCs are working to reduce anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems. They are also limiting local and global levels of pollution by maintaining and improving traditional agricultural practices. In addition, environmental monitoring by IPLCs is becoming an increasingly important component in efforts to control invasive alien species, as well as in early warning and risk prevention systems and, together with campaigns and litigation, in holding polluters to account.

Key potential actions related to IPLCs that could accelerate progress, if more widely applied

  • Develop national and local plans and targets for the effective implementation of the CBD Plan of Action on Customary Sustainable Use.
  • Involve indigenous knowledge-holders in relevant expert groups and include case studies of community actions in CBD reports and databases.
  • Enhance collaboration between traditional knowledge-holders and scientists to develop innovative approaches to sustainable resource use and to climate change mitigation.
  • Recognise, award and support IPLC practices related to sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry including collaborating with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) initiative Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS).
  • Increase institutional support and funding for community-based environmental monitoring, including monitoring related to combating invasive alien species, pollution, and anthropogenic pressures on vulnerable ecosystems.
  • Provide technical and financial support for participatory community risk and vulnerability assessments and for community-based adaptation action plans.
  • Ensure that zero deforestation commitments safeguard IPLCs’ livelihoods and tenure security.
  • Support IPLCs’ calls for moratoria on unsustainable resource extraction and monoculture plantations.