The rapid pace of global environmental change has sparked unprecedented interest and actions to restore and conserve the world’s lands, forests, freshwater systems, and to finding ways to promote their sustainable use and management. In parallel, there is growing recognition that most of the world’s remaining natural and mosaic landscapes are in fact owned or customarily managed by Indigenous Peoples and local communities, with women playing a critical role. Their persistent struggles and actions to protect and manage their land, territories and resources in sustainable and holistic ways have, in recent years, led to the development of a growing body of social and environmental safeguards and standards to protect their rights. While encouraging, the response to date has largely been uncoordinated. Absent from existing frameworks and certification schemes is a common set of globally recognized principles, defined and developed with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including women, that upholds and protects their rights and contributions as stewards of the world’s natural and mosaic landscapes. Consistent with the key objectives of the 2019 GLF, the purpose of this Interaction Session is to launch a new global effort to develop best practice ‘Guiding Principles to Rights-Based Approaches to sustainable landscapes” to both inform national and international policies and landscape-level interventions, and clearly position Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including women, at the forefront of global conservation and climate action. Key to achieving such outcomes is the need for unifying principles that emphasise inclusive aspirational goals and targets, as opposed to minimum-based standards that do little more than mitigate short term risks. Drawing on lessons learned from some of the most advanced rights-based approaches to conservation and land/resource governance in the world today, the session will feature a high-level discussion between Indigenous leaders, rights-based organisations and key climate, conservation and development institutions on strategies and opportunities for rethinking rights-based standards and safeguards to:
- Strengthen respect, recognition and protection of the rights Indigenous Peoples and local com-munities, including women;
- Bring an end to the criminalization and persecution of land and environment defenders;
- Increase recognition of, and sustained support to, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, including women, as stewards and bearers of solutions to landscape restoration, conservation and sustainable use;
- Build partnership at different levels (local to global) to enhance engagement and support for rights-based approaches to sustainable landscapes across scales and sectors; and
- Dramatically scale-up efforts to legally recognize and secure collective land and resource rights across landscapes.
Led by the Global Landscape Forum (GLF), the Indigenous Peoples Major Group (IPMG) and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), the session will set the pace for the development of aspira-tional standards and principles that can pave the way for a more sustainable, equitable, and just future for all. The leaders of this initiative believe strongly that the eventual adoption of such “gold standards” by the GLF, its Charter Members, donors, and other international institutions and initia-tives—including private sector investors and companies—will create a positive wave, and encour-age others to improve their own standards, certification systems and commitments over time.