Championing indigenous conservation governance at IUCN
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016, the IUCN Members Assembly adopted a landmark decision for Indigenous peoples and conservation. Members voted to create a new category of IUCN membership for Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations (IPO), strengthening the recognition of their rights, participation, voice and role in IUCN. This was the first time IUCN reformed its membership structure in its 70-year history and it did so specifically to recognise the specific situation and role of IPOs. This change in IUCN’s governance structure now allows IUCN to play an important convening and facilitating role for indigenous participation in environmental decision-making. Today, Indigenous members and leaders play important governance roles at IUCN through its Council and Commissions.
At the 2021 IUCN World Conservation Congress, IPOs participated for the first time as Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation Members of IUCN and - along with the IUCN Secretariat and CEESP, led the organising of the first ever World Summit of Indigenous Peoples and Nature - where they launched their Global Indigenous Agenda for the Governance of Indigenous Lands, Territories, Waters, Coastal Seas and Natural Resources, which calls on the wider conservation community, including States, to recognise, respect and protect the collective rights and governance of Indigenous peoples to their lands, territories, waters, coastal seas and natural resources.
Supporting indigenous conservation leadership
In 2021, to amplify indigenous voices and priorities, IUCN collaborated with the Forest Farm Facility and IFNOTUSTHENWHO? in producing a communications campaign called Indigenous Insights - Stewarding the Earth. The campaign published a series of video messages from IPOs and partners and published news and events to help inform and advance indigenous rights in a key year of environmental policymaking.
In 2022, IUCN and Conservation International launched the GEF-7 Inclusive Conservation Initiative (ICI), a project that will support Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) to secure and enhance their stewardship over an estimated area of at least 7.5 million hectares of landscapes, seascapes and/or territories with high biodiversity and irreplaceable ecosystems.