Indigenous Peoples’ status as critical and time-immemorial biodiversity guardians shouldn’t need verifying, but a series of recent studies are finally opening the global conservation scene’s eyes to the pivotal role that they play in preserving the world’s ecosystems. There is now clear evidence that biodiversity is declining at a slower rate in formally recognized Indigenous lands, and that ecosystems are healthiest in areas where communities have been granted full property rights. Given that 50 percent of the global land surface is managed by Indigenous Peoples – including 35 to 40 percent of formerly protected areas, and approximately 35 percent of intact terrestrial ecosystems – the world must urgently act to ensure that their rights are formally recognized, and mainstreamed in global restoration agendas.
This paper urges global action on the situation, bringing to light key findings from recent studies that clearly evidence Indigenous Peoples’ role in maintaining biodiversity.
Watch the corresponding session that took place at the GLF Biodiversity Digital Conference: One World – One Health here: Voices of the Landscapes