Strategic Goal D

Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services


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

The enhancement of benefits from biodiversity and ecosystems depends fundamentally upon legal recognition of customary tenure rights, the restoration and safeguarding of cultural ecosystem services, and the enhancement of ecosystem resilience. IPLCs understand ecosystems as their customary lands, territories, waters and resources, and therefore have a strong interest in these measures. In relation to benefit-sharing, especially where benefits from biodiversity also make use of traditional knowledge, there is additional significance for IPLCs as regards their cultural and intellectual property rights. IPLCs’ territories are often exploited unsustainably to capture services and products for others, causing loss and degradation of resources with negative impacts on IPLCs. Similarly many initiatives designed to safeguard ecosystems and carbon stocks have limited IPLCs’ access to and use of their lands, posing a significant threat to their wellbeing as well as ultimately reducing ecosystem resilience.

Experiences of IPLCs and contributions to the goal

IPLCs around the world are working to safeguard, conserve and restore biodiversity and ecosystems in their lands and territories and there is increasing and compelling evidence of the effectiveness of their actions. Some actions at the ecosystem level include community territorial and cultural mapping; vulnerability and resilience mapping; participatory development of land-use and territorial plans; and community monitoring to track external pressures, ecosystem health and land use change. Building on their traditional knowledge and natural resource management systems, and through participatory research and action, IPLCs have also made major contributions towards strengthening socio-ecological resilience to environmental variability and carbon sequestration. Pastoralists and smallholder farmers have developed an array of strategies for the sustainable use of marginal areas. In relation to the sharing of benefits, some IPLCs have also already begun to use the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to gain recognition for their traditional knowledge, to press for a share of the benefits from commercial products based on traditional use of genetic resources, and to develop biocultural protocols. IPLCs have also contributed in global platforms that offer opportunities for collaborative approaches, such as the Satoyama Initiative, which takes an inclusive approach and offers tools to better understand and support socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes.

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

  • Legally recognise customary rights and tenure of IPLCs over lands, territories and resources and ensure that carbon sequestration and restoration measures give due regards to these rights.
  • Increase support for IPLC practices that enhance ecosystem resilience, restore degraded ecosystems and contribute to carbon sequestration and climate adaptation.
  • Expand awareness-raising, experience-sharing and capacity-building activities in relation to the Nagoya Protocol, and develop national and international legal frameworks for its implementation, with full participation of IPLCs.
  • Strive for greater dialogue and mutual respect and understanding on concepts related to ecosystems/habitats, ecosystem services, resilience, climate change, carbon offsets and equitable benefit-sharing.
  • Take measures to counter the rise in assassinations of environmental and human rights defenders and ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.