Billions of hectares of forests, rangelands, wetlands, mountains, coastlands and sea are still—de jure and/or de facto—governed by the indigenous peoples and the traditional communities who have customarily governed and managed them for centuries. When such effective local governance is accompanied by close and unique connections between people and nature, and demonstrated conservation results, we speak of ICCAs—an abbreviation that refers to the territories and areas collectively conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities.
The German government, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have formed a new partnership to create the largest global fund for territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs). The initiative is entitled ‘Support to indigenous peoples’ and community conserved areas and territories (ICCAs) through the GEF Small Grants Programme' is referred to with the short abbreviation GSI. It is financed over five years as a contribution to the achievement of targets contained in the CBD Aichi 2020 framework, and is working in at least 26 countries at the global level.
The initiative acts at as an umbrella for coherent projects of many partners and is designed to improve recognition, support and effectiveness of ICCAs by enhancing capacities at many levels. Through that, it supports the diversity, quality and vitality of governance of the global network of “protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures” as articulated in the Promise of Sydney of the World Parks Congress of 2014.
The IUCN component of the GSI is to:
- Assist national stakeholders (government departments, NGOs, communities, ICCA Consortium members) in collecting information on: governance diversity, quality and vitality including ICCAs,
- Facilitate the submission of ICCA information to the Global Registry and re-vamped World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) from 2015 to 2017,
- Assess the extent to which ICCAs contribute to the protection of biodiversity with the assistance of identified partner organisations,
- Complete at least six assessments of the national governance context for protected areas, ICCAs and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs).
To date, workshops have been held in Iran, Ecuador, Tanzania and Georgia.
When & where: March 2017, Quito, Ecuador (IUCN regional office)
Participants: Protected areas professionals, community representatives, government representatives and IUCN staff specialised in protected areas and governance.
Results: A shared understanding of issues and processes crucial for 'governance for conservation' among key actors concerned with the system of protected and conserved areas in Ecuador; the beginning of a process of 'governance assessment and action' and the identification and use of criteria to select an effective Governance Planning Team' for guiding the process of governance assessment and action in Ecuador.
The second workshop in March focused specifically on territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities in Ecuador and specifically brought together representatives, stakeholders and rights holders to delve into the most pressing issues facing such communities in Ecuador.
The background document for the workshop is available in Spanish: Gobernanza ambiental por parte de pueblos indígenas y comunidades locales.
When & where: March 2017, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (UNDP Tanzania Country Office)
Participants: Maasai pastoralists, academics, conservation biologists, government representatives, representatives of NGOs working in Tanzania on issues such as human rights, natural resources and community conserved areas.
The second event specifically brought together representatives, stakeholders and rights holders associated with territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities in Tanzania. Download the workshop agenda for the second workshop and the group work guidance document.
When & where: October 2017, Tbilisi, Georgia
Participants: The Georgian Agency of Protected Areas (APA), GIZ, Support Programme for Protected Areas in the Caucasus (SPPA), the Georgia Ministry for Environment and Natural Resources Protection,,Integrated Biodiversity Management -South Caucasus (IBiS), ICCA Consortium, UNDP SGP, national UNDP SGP catalytic organisation, IUCN, IUCN WCPA, and several local communities.
The objective of the workshop was threefold:
- To support a review of the protected area governance system in Georgia;
- To engage a practitioner network to help support the Agency of Protected Areas (APA) to identify key themes in governance diversity and quality, thereby generating improved recommendations and options for expanding the governance toolbox;
- To identify and strengthen the communities in Georgia already conserving their local environments de facto, in conjunction with the ICCA consortium.