International biodiversity, environment, or conservation policies, whether binding or intentional, are very relevant for indigenous peoples as they set the standards that should be applied by governments and organizations throughout the world. Indigenous peoples and local communities are taking action to ensure that their rights are placed at the centre of policies aimed at halting global biodiversity loss, and to highlight the underlying causes of the problems. FPP supports indigenous peoples’ advocacy and representation in international fora.
The most relevant international processes are the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The CBD is a UN Convention that was opened for signature at the the Earth Summit in 1992 (together with the Climate Change Convention (UNFCCC)) and came into force in December 1993. The CBD has several thematic programmes, such as forest biodiversity or marine and coastal biodiversity, and several cross-cutting issues, such as protected areas, sustainable use of biodiversity, and traditional knowledge, innovations and practices. Every two years, Parties to the CBD pass decisions at the Conference of the Parties (COP). In between COPs, there are various smaller meetings that focus on particular issues. Decisions of the CBD are binding, which means that governments have to carry out the provisions they contain. The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) is a worldwide network aimed at nature conservation. The IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) is the highest organ of IUCN that convenes every four years. In the Members’ Assembly, resolutions and recommendations are adopted which guide IUCN’s policy as well as influencing many other organizations around the world.
Indigenous peoples participate actively in both processes, where they aim to influence policy- and decision-making and bring in their local concerns and solutions. They also carry out work to track and assess national and local level implementation of agreements achieved at the international level, and call responsible authorities and organisations to account where situations so require.