Protected Areas

2.2 - Indigenous and local communities

Goal 2.2: To enhance and secure involvement of indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders


Full and effective participation by 2008, of indigenous and local communities, in full respect of their rights and recognition of their responsibilities, consistent with national law and applicable international obligations, and the participation of relevant stakeholders, in the management of existing, and the establishment and management of new, protected areas

Suggested activities of the Parties

  • 2.2.1 Carry out participatory national reviews of the status, needs and context-specific mechanisms for involving stakeholders, ensuring gender and social equity, in protected areas policy and management, at the level of national policy, protected area systems and individual sites.

  • 2.2.2 Implement specific plans and initiatives to effectively involve indigenous and local communities, with respect for their rights consistent with national legislation and applicable international obligations, and stakeholders at all levels of protected areas planning, establishment, governance and management, with particular emphasis on identifying and removing barriers preventing adequate participation.

  • 2.2.3 Support participatory assessment exercises among stakeholders to identify and harness the wealth of knowledge, skills, resources and institutions of importance for conservation that are available in society.

  • 2.2.4 Promote an enabling environment (legislation, policies, capacities, and resources) for the involvement of indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders [73]/ in decision making, and the development of their capacities and opportunities to establish and manage protected areas, including community-conserved and private protected areas.

  • 2.2.5 Ensure that any resettlement of indigenous communities as a consequence of the establishment or management of protected areas will only take place with their prior informed consent that may be given according to national legislation and applicable international obligations.

Suggested supporting activities of the Executive Secretary

  • 2.2.6 Make available to Parties case-studies, advice on best practices and other sources of information on stakeholder participation in protected areas

  • 2.2.7 Promote, through the CHM, technical publications and other means, the international sharing of experience on effective mechanisms for stakeholder involvement and governance types in conservation in particular with regard to co-managed protected areas, indigenous and local community conserved areas and private protected areas.

Key activities include:

  • Review mechanisms for involving stakeholders
  • Implement plans to effectively involve indigenous and local communities
  • Support participatory assessment exercises to identify societal knowledge, skills and resources
  • Promote an enabling environment for the involvement of indigenous and local communities in decision making
  • Ensure that resettlement only takes place with prior informed consent

What is an assessment of indigenous and local community participation?

An assessment of indigenous and local community participation entails an examination of the extent to which participatory mechanisms exist for all levels of decision making regarding protected areas, and an analysis of the actual degree and distribution of participation.

What are participatory assessment exercises?

Participatory assessment exercises are assessments that involve indigenous and local communities and relevant stakeholders as key actors and leaders. This means not simply consulting stakeholders, but rather engaging with them in meaningful dialogue regarding protected area objectives and management actions.

What is an enabling environment for decision making?

An enabling environment includes the conditions and circumstances under which actions are taken. In this case, an enabling environment for effective participation for indigenous and local communities could include: clear mechanisms for two-way communication, effective avenues for resolving disputes, legal and economic studies that can enable communities to understand the impact of protected area management decisions, and protected area staff with effective and appropriate communication skills.

What is prior informed consent?

Prior informed consent indicates that the consent a person gives meets certain minimum standards. An informed consent can be said to have been given based upon a clear appreciation and understanding of the facts, implications, and future consequences of an action. In order to give prior informed consent, the individual concerned must possess all relevant facts at the time consent is given. In the context of this goal, this means that indigenous and local communities must fully understand how resettlement will affect their lives, and agree to any resettlement conditions, prior to finalizing any plans.

E-learning module

Module 18: Marine Protected Areas

This module shows how the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas applies in a marine environment, and enables protected area planners to increase marine protection, improve the marine protected area network, and reduce threats to the marine environment.

External forum

Protected areas and governance

For those interested in protected area governance, participation, equity and benefit sharing.

E-learning module

Module 7: Protected area participation

This module covers aspects related to protected area participation (PoWPA Goal 2.2), including participation of indigenous and local communities.

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