Healthy Oceans. Healthy Communities.

ICCAs: New frontier for conservation

June 13, 2013

In many parts of the world Indigenous peoples are using ICCAs to protect their culture and territorial Rights and Title while at the same time conserving the natural world. And it could work in British Columbia.

We're encouraging the establishment of ICCAs because 20 B.C. First Nations and the Provincial Government are working on a Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP) for the North Coast. Combined, these First Nations have marine territories that cover an area of approximately 115,000 km2 of ocean, some of which will be zoned as conservation areas. When added up, they could amount to a lot of ocean and go a long way to helping Canada meet its 10 percent target by 2020.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that sets the global 10 percent target for marine protection recognizes ICCAs as contributing sites, and there are thousands of them worldwide, already recognized in the UN's Global Database of MPAs. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) calls ICCAs the "brave new frontier for conservation." There are none yet officially registered in Canada.

What's an ICCA?

IndigenousPeoples' and Community Conserved Areas and Territories are natural and/ or modified ecosystems containing significant biodiversity values and ecological services, voluntarily conserved by indigenous and local communities, through customary laws or other effective means.