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Biocultural heritage territories: key to halting biodiversity loss

Biodiversity, on which humanity depends, is being lost at an unprecedented rate. And the diversity of human cultures which has sustained biodiversity for millennia is fast disappearing. In 2021, governments will agree a new set of post-2020 targets for addressing biodiversity loss. To be effective and equitable, these targets must recognise the central role of Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) as the custodians of around 80% of the world’s biodiversity. This policy briefing discusses how community-led approaches such as Indigenous biocultural heritage territories (BCHTs) are vital to achieving both Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) post-2020 targets and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and can help avoid negative social impacts often associated with state-run protected areas.

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IIED is working with partners in China, India, Kenya and Peru to explore how the interlinked traditional knowledge, biodiversity, culture and landscapes – the biocultural heritage – of indigenous peoples can contribute to sustainable development. This research will contribute directly to establishing new biocultural heritage territories through a process that builds on the successful Potato Park model.

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Indigenous biocultural heritage for sustainable development

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