The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity (IIFB) was formed During the III Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP III) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in November 1996. The IIFB is a collection of representatives from indigenous governments, indigenous non-governmental organizations and indigenous scholars and activists that rganize around the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and other important international environmental meetings to help coordinate indigenous strategies at these meetings, provide advice to the government parties, and influence the interpretations of government obligations to recognize and respect indigenous rights to the knowledge and resources.
The CBD is an important international environmental convention, because it contains numerous passages that recognize traditional resource and knowledge rights, the most important of which is Article 8(j).
Article 8: In-Situ Conservation
Each Contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate:
(j) Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices.
The importance of the participation of indigenous peoples is increasingly recognised within the decisions taken by Parties to the CBD, notably within Decision V/26 which established the Working Group on Access and Benefit Sharing and Decision V/16 concerning Article 8(j) and related provisions. During COP5 the Parties recognised the importance of the Forum in Decision V/16 in the following paragraphs:
“Recognizing the role that the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity has played since the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties in addressing the Conference of Parties on the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions”
“Invites Parties and Governments to support the participation of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, as well as relevant organizations representing indigenous and local communities, in advising the Conference of Parties on the implementation of Article 8(j) and related provisions.”
This site is an international node to aid in the coordination of the activities of the IIFB, to promote a wider dissemination of information on indigenous perspectives and rights to their knowledge and resources, and to direct people to other portals and web sites of the members of the IIFB and other organizations working in common cause.