10 Reasons to Promote and Implement Article 10c - Effective implementation of the CBD and support for the new paradigm on protected areas

10 Reasons to Promote and Implement Article 10c - Effective implementation of the CBD and support for the new paradigm on protected areas

(Updated) December 2004 Article 10c:

Protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation or sustainable use requirements

Securing biodiversity conservation through the empowerment of indigenous peoples and local communities, requires a rights-based approach to ecosystem management, environmental conservation and community development. Without secure rights, full and effective participation and tangible benefits, indigenous peoples and local communities are inevitably marginalised by development and conservation policies and programmes.

A new paradigm for protected areas

The recent consensus of the World Parks Congress (WPC) held in Durban, South Africa, resulted in the ‘Durban Accord’, which announces that the Congress accepts a ‘new paradigm’ for protected areas under which protected area laws, policies, governance and management are integrated “...equitably with the interests of all affected people.” The Accord celebrates the conservation successes of indigenous peoples. It expresses concern at the lack of recognition, protection and respect given to these efforts. It notes that the costs of protected areas are often borne by local communities. It urges commitment to involve Indigenous peoples in establishing and managing protected areas, and ensure their participation in decision-making on a fair and equitable basis in full respect of their human and social rights.

Opportunities to apply the new paradigm

The Convention on Biological Diversity is a legally binding international treaty that frames the way Parties to the Convention will achieve biodiversity conservation. From its inception, and in numerous decisions of the Parties, the CBD has established progressive norms and principles to deal with the conservation of biodiversity in ways that address the equity, participation and rights issues relating to Indigenous peoples, local communities and other stakeholders (Articles 8j and 10c, among others).

While special consideration is rightly being given by the Convention to the implementation of Article 8j, relatively little has been done to understand and implement article 10c and few practical examples exist to guide national and international policy makers (one important exception is the Secretariat’s 1997 document on Traditional Knowledge and Biological Diversity. UNEP/CBD/TKBD/1/2).

Ten reasons to promote Article 10c

Improved implementation of Article 10c will reinforce achievement of the three main goals of the CBD: (i) the conservation of biological diversity, (ii) the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity, and (iii) equitable and fair sharing the benefits. 10c also provides an excellent vehicle for the practical implementation of many the multiple progressive outcomes of the Fifth World Parks Congress and decision on protected areas stemming form COPVII of the CBD held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2004. Focused efforts to implement 10c will support the new paradigm for protected areas that promotes the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and recognition and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples and traditional communities.

In short, the CBD secretariat, Parties, governments, other international fora and agencies dealing with natural resource issues, indigenous peoples and local communities should work to promote the practical implementation 10c because it:

1.       Establishes an agreed framework for supporting Indigenous peoples and local communities to conserve, sustainably manage and benefit from their biological resources;

2.       Underpins many of the programme elements relating to equity, participation, traditional knowledge and benefit sharing established under the CBD’s expanded work programme on forest biological diversity (e.g., Element (1), Goal 4, objective 3, among others) and its proposed work programme on protected areas (programme element on equity, governance, participation and benefit sharing);

3.       Creates synergies for effective implementation of the work programme on Article 8j (e.g., Element 3, Task 13, among others);

4.       Provides an opening under the CBD to recognize the diversity of protected area governance approaches, such as Indigenous territories, community conserved areas, sacred sites and other traditional conservation areas (CBD programme of work on protected areas);

5.       Is fully consistent with the promotion of the full and effective participation of Indigenous and local communities through the recognition, promotion, use and application of traditional knowledge and traditional resource management practices (CBD programme of work on protected areas);

6.       Necessitates, as a precondition for its effective implementation, reviews of national legislation and policies and their reforms to account for and recognise, among others, Indigenous legal systems, corresponding systems of governance and administration, land and water rights and control over sacred and cultural sites (CBD programme of work on protected areas);

7.       Promotes the sustainable use of biological resources thereby contributing to poverty alleviation and food security among Indigenous peoples and local communities (UN Millennium Development Goals);

8.       Could help strengthen co-ordination between the CBD and UNFF in relation to IPF/IFF Proposals for Action on traditional knowledge, participation and land tenure;

9.       Has the potential to empower Indigenous peoples (Chapter 26, Agenda 21) and local communities and help them secure their rights to their territories and their environment;

10.     Is fundamental to the rationale of the ecosystem approach, which recognises that: ‘...Indigenous peoples and other local communities living on the land are important stakeholders and their rights and interests should be recognised. Both cultural and biological diversity are central components of the ecosystem approach...’ (Principle 1)