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Protected Areas and the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities: Current Issues and Future Agenda

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Date: April 30, 2015

The relationship between protected areas and community land rights is important for both human rights and biodiversity conservation at a global scale. It is important for human rights because land and natural resources are fundamental to the existence, livelihoods, cultural heritage, identity, and future opportunities of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Customary rights to land and resources, particularly for Indigenous Peoples, are clearly recognized in international human rights law. It is important for biodiversity conservation because of the tremendous contributions that Indigenous Peoples and local communities have made historically and continue to make as stewards of the Earth’s ecosystems and species. Secure rights to land and resources enable people to exercise their traditional knowledge and management systems, defend against external threats, and govern their lands to meet the long-term needs of current and future generations.

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