What are ICCAs?

The acronym ICCAs refers to territories and areas governed, managed, and conserved by custodian indigenous peoples and local communities. These areas and territories are also known as life territories, where communities and groups of people preserve a strong connection to their land. On them, these groups promote their social wellbeing and ensure environmental and socio-cultural preservation, in addition to protecting natural resources for future generations.

ICCAs are an international concept recognising the ways of life, the places of daily living and the rights of traditional peoples and communities. This concept has been endorsed across the world by different institutions, namely the Global Consortium of ICCAs, the Global Support Initiative, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Natural Justice, and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In Brazil, the organisations most engaged in promoting the debate are the “Mulheres em Ação no Pantanal” (Women in Action in Pantanal – MUPAN), the Institute for Society, Population, and Nature (ISPN), the Cerrado Network, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Brazil), and the Brazilian International Institute of Education (IIEB).

Brazil has an enormous diversity of peoples who uphold traditional and sustainable lifestyles, but most of these groups and communities have been made invisible by our society. The ICCAs concept contemplates many of these territories, meaning that registering a community territory on an international ICCAs platform is a tool that can contribute towards defending the rights of traditional peoples and communities and their natural resources.

To garner international recognition, the interested community or group can register via the ICCAs Consortium and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the United Nations Environment Programme (WCMC/UNEP), going through a registration process during which data about the territory must be submitted. In Brazil, MUPAN is the ICCAs Consortium focal point and supports the registration of territories across the country.