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last modified April 9, 2020 by facilitfsm


The Consortium emerged from the close collaboration of like-minded individuals and organizations who started working together in the early 1990s and progressively strengthened their cooperation and engagement. The IUCN CEESP Commission and its thematic groups on governance (TGER) and sustainable livelihoods (TSL) were at the forefront in the 1990s. In 2000, an inter-commission working group called TILCEPA was created between CEESP and WCPA and supported much work on ICCAs by promoting their systematic analysis, with an initial focus at the regional level and in selected countries, such as India and Iran. TILCEPA, TGER and the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP) spearheaded the visibility, discussion and recognition of the ICCA phenomenon in crucial international gatherings and conventions dealing with conservation of nature at the beginning of the new Millennium.

Responding to mounting interest and concerns about ICCAs, several mutually-respected organisations representing indigenous peoples and local communities and their supporting NGOs then established the ‘ICCA Consortium’ at a gathering during the 4th World Conservation Congress in Barcelona (Spain) in October 2008. They agreed on a broad programme of action which provided initial support and stimulus for work towards common ICCA goals. It was during the same gathering that the ICCA Registry was also born as an on-line, internationally recognised ICCA database. Since the Barcelona’s Congress, the membership of the Consortium has steadily grown by about 20% per year. General Assemblies have taken place at least once a year, often taking advantage of international gatherings and policy events, including meetings of the CBD Parties and UN gatherings.






In October 2010 an ICCA-dedicated workshop took place in Shirakawa-Go, Japan, providing an occasion for the Consortium to develop its Vision 2020 and

 work programme 2011-2014. Until August 2011, partial funding and volunteer engagements had supported the Consortium’s programme of action in various regions and for some global activities, but financial support to the overall programme remained insignificant. In July 2011, however, the Consortium was awarded two grants from the Christensen Fund and UNDP-EEG, finally enabling it to pursue its Vision and work programme with an expanded— if still semi volunteer— secretariat.


Today, custodian communities and their ICCAs face unprecedented stresses and threats arising from the socio-ecological changes sweeping the world.  Increasingly, however, they are also being recognised as among the best hopes for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity left on the planet… The ICCA Consortium is responding to threats and opportunities by actively upholding ICCAs by promoting:

ICCA self-strengthening processes at local level

Through self-strengthening processes (SSPs), custodian indigenous peoples and local communities (‘communities’ for short) define and control a course of action to become:

more self-aware and knowledgeable about their ICCAs and their importance/significance

more appreciative of their history, culture and governance institutions

better able to govern and manage their ICCAs with integrity and vision

wiser, more responsible, and more capable of providing positive responses to ICCA opportunities and threats, learning from experience, innovating and preventing, and solving problems


The same process is expected to advance territories that:

are better conserved, e.g., protected, sustainably used and/or restored

have higher ecological integrity and resilience

provide better support for the custodian communities’ livelihoods, and material and non-material well-being

Finally, and importantly, SSPs are expected to enhance the connection between a custodian community and its territory.

A typical process involves:

Enhancing ICCA awareness and planning a self-strengthening process (SSP)

Describing and documenting the ICCA

Assessing and analysing ICCA security and resilience

Developing ICCA initiatives/ project proposals

Self-monitoring for continued learning and strengthening

Communicating about the ICCA


Networking and advocating for appropriate ICCA recognition and support

Please find here a document offering comprehensive Guidance to ICCA Self-strengthening processes. The document is also available in Spanish and in French.





Networking, peer-support and advocacy at national and sub-national level

Through networking, peer-support and advocacy at national and sub-national level, custodian indigenous peoples and local communities become, as relevant:

better connected with other communities and other dependable friends and allies in civil society, government, etc.

better recognised, defended, respected, and appropriately supported locally, nationally, regionally, and internationally

ICCA Networks that come together for advocacy are often engaged in:

 diplomatic action, in particular policy advocacy in various types of meetings and parliamentary hearings

 legal action, from local reconciliation processes, to legal cases in national courts, to appeals brought to the attention of regional human rights courts

 demonstrations and civil disobedience in intractable or extreme cases, including marches and protests, strikes and picket lines, road blockades, and human barricades

Please read more here: networking/ creating a critical mass for change


Networking, peer-support and advocacy at international level


Through networking, peer-support, and advocacy at the international level, custodian indigenous peoples and local communities become:

better connected with other communities and other dependable friends and allies active in the international policy arena

and their conserved territories also become:

better recognized, defended, respected and appropriately supported in international policy (…with crucial repercussions at national level)


The ICCA Consortium is active in providing effective international support to ICCAs by organizing and developing:

ICCA-relevant events at Conferences of the Parties to international conventions and other international policy meetings—from presentations on innovative subjects to entire Streams of technical events, from press events to field visits

technical publications and films, from technical guidelines and Policy Briefs to power point presentations, posters, and short and long videos

demonstrations including marches and flash events.


Please read more on our law and policy groups