Poster of the 15. UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal

UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal Germany supports nature conservation efforts of indigenous peoples and local communities

Joint press release of BMZ and BMUV, 15 December 2022 | In Montreal, Canada, negotiations at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15) on a new ambitious global framework on biodiversity are entering their decisive phase. Once more, it is becoming clear that it will only be possible to stop biodiversity loss and restore ecosystems if a key role is given to indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) when it comes to nature conservation. The German government advocates for nature conservation efforts that include development opportunities for people on the ground. That is why, at COP15, German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and German Development Minister Svenja Schulze committed some 85 million euros in new funding to boost the role of indigenous peoples and local communities.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres during his speech at the opening ceremony of the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada
Two hands holding a piece of honey comb with bees on it

Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said, “In the negotiations for a new global biodiversity framework, we are working to ensure that 30 per cent of the world's land and oceans are placed under protection by 2030. To achieve this goal, it is important that indigenous peoples and local communities are effectively engaged in decision-making processes as equal partners and that their rights to land, territories and resources are secured. The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has also repeatedly underscored this and emphasised the relevance of indigenous and local knowledge to effective biodiversity conservation.”

Development Minister Svenja Schulze said, “Indigenous people only make up about five per cent of the world's population. But the areas where they live are home to some 80 per cent of our planet's biodiversity. In other words, indigenous peoples also protect the vital natural resources that are needed for our survival in Germany and other industrialised countries. This means they are important partners for nature conservation. In places where indigenous peoples live and their rights are upheld, the natural environment is in a better state. That is why we work for a type of nature conservation that simultaneously strengthens the rights of indigenous and local communities and gives local people economic opportunities.”

Much of Earth's biodiversity can be found in developing and emerging economies: in biodiverse areas that require protection and that are also home to people – indigenous peoples and local communities. Nature conservation must be worthwhile for them and give them development opportunities. In particular, this requires active protected area management that allows the sustainable use of the areas in question. Indigenous peoples and local communities have a right to participation in the decision-making on nature conservation, and their tenure and use rights must be protected. At COP15, Germany has been advocating for this in the negotiations.

In order to support the implementation of these principles, the German Environment Ministry (BMUV) and the Development Ministry (BMZ) will invest a total of about 85 million euros in efforts to boost the role of indigenous peoples and local communities. While these groups are some of the best and most knowledgeable actors when it comes to nature conservation, they often lack tenure rights, the chance to participate in decision-making on protected area management, and access to appropriate remuneration for valuable nature conservation services.

Part of the German funding will therefore be dedicated to the EnABLE (External link) Fund set up by the World Bank, which fosters equal access for indigenous peoples and local communities to biodiversity and climate finance. Another portion of the BMZ funding will go towards the Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative (CLARIFI (External link)), which works on the formalisation of indigenous people's tenure rights and supports nature conservation plans adopted by local communities. Some support will go towards the UNDP Equator Initiative (External link), which offers awards for nature conservation achievements by indigenous peoples and local communities and fosters networking between such communities and the United Nations, governments, civil society, and the private sector. Another part of the funding is intended for a new investment programme under the Climate Investment Funds (External link) that will include the administration of direct payments to indigenous peoples and local communities for their nature conservation and climate action efforts.

The BMZ's investments will total about 63 million euros. All of this funding is intended to strengthen the role of indigenous and local communities in international nature conservation. The envisaged additional funds will be put into action after the German budget for 2023 has entered into force.

On 14 December, the German Environment Ministry announced at COP15 that it would increase its funding for the Global ICCA Support Initiative (External link), thus bolstering its commitment to the implementation of the 30x30 protected area target in cooperation with indigenous peoples and local communities.

In its new phase (External link), the Initiative will be dedicating 22 million euros to efforts to further strengthen the role of Indigenous and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs) in 50 countries. ICCAs contribute towards the implementation of two key goals of the new global biodiversity framework that is currently being negotiated in Montreal: the 30x30 protected area target, which provides for putting 30 per cent of all land and sea areas under protection by 2030, and the goal of ensuring that indigenous peoples and local communities enjoy full and effective participation in decision-making processes and that their rights to lands, territories and resources are respected.