Can Territories of Life be Cradles of Radical Transformation?


Biodiversity loss continues apace, the climate catastrophe is becoming frighteningly visible, pollution claims millions of life,  plastics are now found in the salt we eat and the beach sand we sit on.

ICCAs – now welcomingly labeled territories of life – have travelled dramatically in the last 20 years. On the ground of course they have been around for thousands of years, but their global recognition has mostly come in this millennium.

From the early, tentative labeling of the phenomenon as ‘community conserved areas’ (CCAs) in India, they have traversed a rocky path: being escorted by some of us through the corridors of the IUCN encountering both strong opposition and enthusiastic support, the breakthroughs made at the 2003 World Parks Congress where CCAs figured in the plenary talks and over 100 community representatives championed it, their conversion into the more inclusive and respectful ICCAs as indigenous peoples asserted their own identity, their inclusion in the Protected Areas Programme of Work of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2004, their recognition in the World Conservation Congress and the formation of the ICCA Consortium in the 2008 Congress.

And meanwhile of course advocacy on them in several countries using locally relevant terminology. The Consortium’s systematic promotion from local to global forums has in the last decade placed them squarely in the centre of the conservation-livelihoods-rights discourse and practice. – ICCA Consortium

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