Legal Instruments

Legal Resources

There is a wide range of rights and responsibilities related to Indigenous peoples and local communities under human rights, environmental, and cultural heritage instruments. These provisions include both substantive rights, perhaps most importantly to self-determination, and procedural rights such as access to information, full and effective participation, and access to justice. The precautionary principle, “do no harm”, and other cross-cutting principles provide a fundamental moral and ethical basis for laws and policies concerning both the environment and Indigenous peoples and local communities.

This section includes links to international and regional Human Rights, Environmental Rights, and Cultural Rights instruments and mechanisms. It also provides an introduction to Case Law and links to Community Declarations, which together constitute an emerging jurisprudence on rights and responsibilities related to Indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ ways of life and territory-based governance.



Analysis of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Anaya, 2008)
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Guide to Free Prior and Informed Consent (Oxfam Australia, 2010)
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Towards a People’s History of the Law: Biocultural Jurisprudence and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing (Bavikatte and Robinson, 2011)
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Indigenous and Local Communities and Protected Areas: Towards Equity and Enhanced Conservation (Borrini-Feyerabend et al., 2004)
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Legal Pluralism, Indigenous People and Small Island Developing States: Achieving Good Environmental Governance in the South Pacific (Techera, 2010)
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Biodiversity and Culture: Exploring community protocols, rights and consent (IIED Participatory Learning and Action 65, 2012)
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Biocultural Community Protocols: Articulating and Asserting Stewardship (Moving Images & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Rooibos Robbery: A Story of Bioprospecting in South Africa (Steps Southern Africa, 2012)
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Maldhari Biocultural Community Protocol Photo Story (Sahjeevan & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Latest Publication

Biocultural Community Protocols: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators
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Key Links
Community Protocols

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