Legal and Policy Reviews for Increased Recognition of ICCAs

To address some of the constraints in achieving the Aichi targets and to contribute to Post-2020 Aichi Framework, the ICCA-GSI is undertaking legal and policy analyses in the majority of the 26 participating countries. The overall aim of this initiative is to evaluate the impact of laws, policies and institutional frameworks on ICCAs at the national level (and at the local level); and provide appropriate recommendations and strategies for reforms to improve the recognition and support to ICCAs.

ngorongoro crater

Natural Justice, the ICCA-GSI global technical partner, provides guidance, methodology and other technical support for the national legal analyses on ICCAs. The legal projects are delivered by the GEF SGP, with support from the ICCA Consortium in relevant countries.

In Indonesia, An Analysis of International Law, National Legislation, Judgements and Institutions as they interrelate with Territories and Areas conserved by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities was finalized in April 2019. The 86-page report examines how Masyarakat Adat (Indigenous Peoples) and Masyarakat Hukum Adat (Adat Law Communities) are impacted by legal and institutional regulatory frameworks at the national, provincial, and district or city levels. Challenges and opportunities in relation to human rights (civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights), governance, tenure rights, customary land rights and communal rights are reviewed, with recommendations for reforms provided.  

In Viet Nam, Legal Analysis to Assess the Impact of National Laws, Policies and Institutional Frameworks on Ethnic Minorities & Local Communities in the Conservation and Development of Natural Resources in Viet Nam was finalized on October 2018. The 56-page report provides (i) a review of current state of national laws, policies and institutions on ethnic minorities and local communities in the conservation and development of natural resources; (ii) identifies inadequacies and constraints; (iii) and provides recommendations to appropriately recognize and strengthen ICCAs though policy reforms; promoting and developing protected areas (PAs) managed by ethnic minorities and local communities towards achieving Nagoya Protocol commitments and Biodiversity Aichi targets. 

In other ICCA-GSI participating countries (Argentina, Belize, Benin, Colombia, Guatemala, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Morocco, Namibia, Paraguay, Senegal, Suriname, Tanzania and Zambia), the legal analysis projects are in the preliminary stages. After the initial desk-review of policies, laws and regulatory frameworks, workshops are iteratively organized to bring multi-level stakeholders together to review and provide recommendations. The participants include indigenous and local communities, government authorities, academia and other civil society organizations, UN agencies and conservation institutions/organizations.  For example, in Tanzania, a validation workshop brought 27 multi-level actors in March 2019. After the initial desk-review of Tanzania’s legal, policy and regulatory frameworks, the workshop provided discussions to balance conservation and the human rights of indigenous and local communities. Participants were divided into four working groups and assigned with a question focusing on (i) Legal/policy reform, (ii) Resistance and engagement factors, (iii) Key factors for effective implementation of supportive provisions and (iv) Judgements that support or hinder IPLCs. Recommendations made in the workshop will be incorporated in the research and report development process.

For more information about the ICCA-GSI, please click here. You may also contact Jennifer Kelleher at, Terence Hay-Edie  at or Anna Lisa Jose at

Go to top