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Johis Alarcón, UNDP Ecuador

Custodians of nature 

Placing Indigenous Peoples' and local community rights at the heart of the biodiversity credit market

Rights, capacity and knowledge

The Communities Advisory Panel (CAP) was set up in 2023 to ensure that the emerging market in biodiversity credits is founded on just and equitable principles, respectful of human rights and traditional knowledge, and recognizes and builds on existing capacity.

CAP is an independent, self-governed group consisting of over 40 members of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities from the seven socio-cultural subregions of the world. CAP works to bring equity and integrity to the biodiversity credit market by:

  • Identifying the risks and opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities associated with biodiversity credits
  • Ensuring Indigenous People’s and Local Communities’ rights and traditional knowledge are respected, including the right to self-determination and legal processes such as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
  • Supporting funding for and building the capacity of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in their role as nature’s frontline stewards

The current secretariat of the CAP is the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), with support from the Biodiversity Credit Alliance (BCA).

Yuichi Ishida, UNDP

Prashanth Vishwanathan, UNDP Ecuador

Moving in step with Mother Nature

CAP has drafted the paper Recommendations of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Biodiversity Credits, which is a must-read for any stakeholder thinking of entering the emerging market in biodiversity credits. The paper highlights both the risks, and the opportunities intrinsic to nature markets, as well as the need to learn from challenges experienced by the carbon market.

A final copy of the recommendations is being developed, and will incorporate comments from the consultation that took place in early 2024.

Please note:

The Communities Advisory Panel has been assembled based on members’ personal expertise, interest and ability to provide valuable inputs on the topic of biodiversity custodianship and a rights-based approach. It’s important to note that CAP members do not aim to democratically represent or broadly speak for the world of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, but have come together to contribute in their respective personal capacities.