IUCN Statement | 29 Jul, 2021

IUCN statement on the inscription of Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex onto the World Heritage List

IUCN acknowledges the World Heritage Committee’s decision to inscribe the Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex onto the World Heritage List, and the commitment expressed by the State Party of Thailand to continue the work in progress relating to the site. IUCN stands ready to support the State Party in its work with local communities and other concerned stakeholders to address the Committee’s decision, and uphold the World Heritage Convention’s own policies and high standards of conservation practice.

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Photo: IUCN

IUCN’s evaluation of the Kaeng Krachan nomination for 2020-2021 noted some overall progress however again concluded that concerns raised by local communities around human rights issues within the site had not been resolved. The World Heritage Committee had asked Thailand to fully address these concerns in its previous decisions, specifically those linked to the mandate of UN Special Rapporteurs on matters of human rights. IUCN, in its role as the Committee’s advisory body on nature, recommended for the inscription of this site to be deferred until, among other issues, indigenous Karen communities provide their consent, and their concerns are resolved.

Respecting the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in conservation is a clearly stated policy of the World Heritage Convention and is central to IUCN’s mission and values. IUCN’s membership, composed of government, civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations, sets the policies that guide IUCN’s wider work. In this regard, IUCN’s Resolutions emphasise that nature conservation must respect the rights of indigenous peoples to the territories they have traditionally owned and used.