An overview of international legal and institutional frameworks for promoting community action in conservation

Aili Pyhälä, Fabrizio Frascaroli, Giulia Sajeva

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


In much of the conservation discourse, the interests of humans and biodiversity are still presented as conflicting, in a relationship where satisfying the needs of one would come to the detriment of the other. This trade-off ideology has been at the basis of the, for instance, fences and fines approaches to conservation, and in the most extreme cases has led to the creation of protected areas by evicting indigenous peoples and local communities, irrespectively of their actual impacts on the local environment. Emerging approaches informed by the notions of community-based conservation and biocultural diversity have advanced alternative (yet age-old) ways of understanding the relationship between people and nature, highlighting the positive role that indigenous peoples and local communities can play in the conservation of biodiversity. Community contributions to conservation are receiving growing recognition also in international legal, institutional and political frameworks. In this presentation, we review the main international instruments providing recognition of community action for conservation – such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Nagoya Protocol, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and other People Working in Rural Areas, as well as the IUCN Protected Areas Programme, the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures. These instruments, increasingly, though still limitedly, provide at least some recognition and promotion of the fundamental role that Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs) play for both the conservation of biodiversity as well as local livelihoods. As economic and corporate pressures increase, legal recognition is especially important for the efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples in conserving their lands and livelihoods. Understanding the existing instruments, how to use them, and how they can be improved is thus key to furthering such efforts and supporting them into the future. 1) biocultural conservation; 2) Indigenous Peoples and Communities Conserved Areas (ICCAs); 3) international legal and institutional review.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018
Event5th European Congress of Conservation Biology - Jyväskylä, Finland
Duration: 12 Jun 201815 Jun 2018


Conference5th European Congress of Conservation Biology


  • institutional frameworks
  • community action
  • conservation
  • Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs)
  • biocultural conservation
  • indigenous peoples


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