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  • Indigenous peoples and local communities are vital actors in finding and implementing solutions for the protection and sustainable use the world’s biodiversity.
  • Biodiversity is place-located and Indigenous people and local community values, knowledge and practices rooted in their lands therefore play a vital role in solving global sustainability challenges.
  • Indigenous people and local community full and effective participation in decision making, and rights to control resources should have a prominent place in the new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework under development.

Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) are vital actors in implementing solutions and showing us the way forward for the protection and sustainable use the world’s biodiversity. This is the hopeful message from the second edition of the Local Biodiversity Outlooks (LBO-2), a collaborative report created by more than 50 Indigenous and community authors.

The report, published on 16 September 2020, provides recommendations for halting biodiversity loss in the next decade, based on Indigenous peoples’ experiences of contributing to the implementation of the 2010-2020 Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The contributions of IPLCs have too often been neglected and marginalised, and this has affected the underachievement of set goals for biodiversity conservation.

Co-produced by SwedBio partners Forest Peoples Programme, Centres of Distinction on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, Indigenous Women’s Biodiversity Network, and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the LBO-2 influences key CBD policy processes – and the future of global biodiversity.

In the LBO-2, IPLCs share their lived experiences and collective action for protecting, governing and managing biodiversity, natural resources and territories. The LBO-2 case studies remind us that biodiversity is place-based, and that solutions to current global social-ecological crises need to be drawn from experiences at all levels – from local to national, regional and international.

Many of SwedBio’s partners are involved in the cases presented. For example, the Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) and the Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development (PASD) recount the Pgaz K’Nyau (Karen) people’s traditional rotational farming system, while Tebtebba, Philippines, puts forward the mobilisation of traditional knowledge and monitoring systems.

Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 and LBO-2 – two complementary sources of knowledge

The case studies of the LBO-2 are stories of resilience, solidarity and collective action, but also, they provide a solid evidence base made up of voices from the ground at the heart of ecosystems, as was highlighted by Josefa Tauli, from the Global Youth Biodiversity Network.  The LBO-2 complements the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5), which is the compilation of the national reporting from the Parties of the CBD, on how they have met the goals set for saving the world’s biodiversity.

Regrettably, the majority of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets set out by the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020 have not been met. The GBO-5 corroborates the LBO-2 conclusion: there has been a failure to fully recognise, value and integrate the contributions and knowledge of IPLCs, particularly in national biodiversity strategies and action plans. Rather, IPLCs face increasing challenges in their rights to their knowledge, lands and customary sustainable use of biodiversity.  

LBO-2 brings optimism and highlights the important role of IPLCs in protecting biodiversity

Still, much of the world’s biodiversity is found in territories customarily governed by IPLCs. Current estimates suggest that lands under the communal management of IPLCs form at least 50% of the world’s land area, covering a wide range of important biomes.

As evidenced by IPBES Global Assessment 2019, areas managed by IPLCs across the world face less nature decline and degradation, and stand as islands of nature amidst a sea of degraded ecosystems. They are faithful guardians of the world’s biodiversity.

“LBO-2 embodies an optimism that the destruction of Nature and the dramatic loss of biodiversity and cultural diversity can be successfully reversed, by embracing the values, and building on the collective and local actions of the World’s indigenous peoples and local communities.”

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The gap between IPLCs’ contributions and the recognition thereof, is a ’major missed opportunity’ for the conservation of nature, as emphasised by Joji Cariño, one of the lead authors of the LBO-2 report. Promoting their full and effective participation in decision-making processes, securing their rights to land and other resources, and combatting violations of human and environmental rights defenders, should thus have a prominent place in the new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, according to the recommendations put forward in the report.

In the LBO 2, the IPLC authors propose changes towards more balanced relationships within societies and with nature through six key transitions towards achieving the Vision 2050 of Living in harmony with nature:

  • Cultural transitions towards diverse ways of knowing and being 
  • Land transitions towards securing customary land tenure of IPLCs
  • Governance transitions towards inclusive decision-making and self-deter­mined development
  • Incentives and financial transitions towards rewarding effective culture-based solutions
  • Economic transitions towards sustainable use and diverse local economies
  • Food transitions towards revitalising indigenous and local food systems.

“Biodiversity needs the voices of indigenous peoples […]. Putting the cultures and rights of IPLCs at the heart of the 2050 biodiversity strategy would deliver sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing, and positive outcomes for biodiversity and climate.”

Joji Cariño, (Philippines) of Forest Peoples Programme, also representing Centres of Distinction on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, and a Member of IIFB.


In May 2021, Parties to the CBD will adopt a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework . The new framework, currently being prepared through a comprehensive consultative process, is a stepping stone towards the 2050 Vision on biodiversity of ‘Living in harmony with nature’. This new plan is expected to bend the curve of biodiversity loss, in synergy with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the Paris Accord on Climate Change.