Global Landscapes Forum to adopt standard to protect lands of Indigenous peoples and local communities

22 Jun 2019

Photo credit: Joan Carling, co-convener, Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development, speaks at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn, Germany. GLF/Pilar Valbuena

BONN, Germany (21 June 2019) – The two-day Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) conference in Bonn, Germany on 22-23 June occurs under the shadow of increasing threats to Indigenous livelihoods from the variability of climate change and the encroachment of extraction activities on their landscapes.

Evidence shows that when local communities have authority over their forests and land, and their rights are legally recognized, deforestation rates are often reduced, said Robert Nasi, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which jointly coordinates GLF with UN Environment and the World Bank.

Insecure land tenure can be a recipe for deforestation and forest degradation, he wrote in a recent opinion piece on Reuters, explaining that Indigenous communities play a vital role in protecting the environment.

“We have a very effective tool for climate-change action,” Nasi said.  “I refer to rights: land-use and tenure rights for Indigenous peoples, women, youth and local communities.”

Indigenous peoples make up less than 6 percent of the world’s population but account for 15 percent of the poorest people, according to the United Nations. They live in some 90 countries, represent 5,000 different cultures and speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages. Over 80 percent of biological diversity is found on Indigenous peoples’ lands.


Delegates will unite to join in creating a global “gold standard,” proposed by the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG), which recognizes that Indigenous and local communities are bearers of rights and solutions to common challenges.

“By implementing the gold standard, we can both prevent human rights violations and develop conservation and restoration initiatives that embrace the key role Indigenous peoples and local communities are already playing to protect our planet,” said Joan Carling, co-convener of IPMG. “This will pave the way for a more sustainable, equitable and just future.”

Carling is a member of the Kankanaey tribe in the Philippines and was recently removed from a government list of terrorists where she had been unjustly placed merely for speaking out on Indigenous rights. She was awarded the U.N. Champions of the Earth Award by UN Environment in 2018.

Key presenters include Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Like Carling, Tauli-Corpuz, also from the Philippines, was falsely accused of being a terrorist and a Communist infiltrator in the United Nations.

“When Indigenous rights are protected there is better biodiversity, forests are kept more intact and they can contribute more to climate change mitigation and adaptation,” Tauli-Corpuz told BBC Newsday during an interview ahead of GLF. A campaign against the criminalization of Indigenous peoples was recently announced at the United Nations.

Brazilian presidential candidate and activist Sônia Guajajara will speak about how she knew she would not win the election in Brazil last year – but how she achieved her real objective of promoting Indigenous rights.

Other speakers include:

  • Inuk activist Aka Niviâna who creates poetry depicting the urgency of the melting Arctic of her homeland
  • Filmmaker Emmanuela Shinta who vividly depicts stories of discrimination against Borneo’s Dayak people
  • Navajo graphic designer Jolene Yazzie who designs skateboards featuring images of Indigenous women warriors as the heroines
  • This is only part of an extraordinary lineup of inspiring Indigenous women who are activists in the causes of human rights, land rights and fighting climate change.

Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Bonn 2019, 22-23 June will be held at Maritim Hotel Bonn, Kurt-Georg-Kiesinger-Allee 1, 53175 Bonn, Germany.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Melissa Angel

Email: m.kayeangel [at ]


Julie Mollins

Email: j.mollins [at]

Remote interviews, photographs, video footage and other materials are also available for journalists.

Alternatively, join online.


The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. The Forum takes a holistic approach to create sustainable landscapes that are productive, prosperous, equitable and resilient and considers five cohesive themes of food and livelihood initiatives, landscape restoration, rights, finance and measuring progress. It is led by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in collaboration with its co-founders UN Environment and the World Bank and Charter Members. Charter members: CIRAD, CIFOR, Climate Focus, Conservation International, Ecoagriculture Partners, The European Forest Institute, Evergreen Agriculture, FSC, GEF, IPMG, CIAT, ICIMOD, IFOAM – Organics International, INBAR, IUFRO, Rainforest Alliance, Rare, Rights and Resources Initiative, UN Environment, Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation part of Wageningen Research, World Agroforestry, World Resources Institute, WWF Germany, Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL), World Bank Group

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