Technical Advice

Technical Advice

Since 2007, Natural Justice has been actively involved in providing legal and technical support to inter-governmental organizations such as UNEP, UNESCO, and UNDP, as well as regional organizations such as the ABS Capacity Development Initiative for Africa. Both the inter-governmental and regional organizations have relied on the expertise of Natural Justice at the interface between the local concerns of Indigenous peoples and communities and the development and implementation of national, regional, and international law and policy. Providing technical and legal support to intergovernmental and regional organizations has also contributed to the effective and long-term engagement of these organizations with communities on the ground in line with local priorities and values.

ABS Capacity Development Initiative

Since the inception of the ABS Capacity Development Initiative for Africa (ABS Initiative), Natural Justice has been an integral part of its African activities. Besides supporting the ABS Initiative in its ABS-related capacity development activities amongst African Indigenous peoples and local communities, Natural Justice has also provided expertise in a number of ABS capacity development workshops. One of the members of the Natural Justice team continues to serve on the Steering Committee of the ABS Initiative and since the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol, Natural Justice has been working with the ABS Initiative with the aim of supporting the development and implementation of national ABS laws that affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities to their traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources. In addition, Natural Justice is supporting the Initiative in implementing its ABS capacity development activities for the Lusophone countries in Africa. This includes ongoing support to the Ministry of Environment of Mozambique and preparations for a capacity development workshop for the five Lusophone African countries in Maputo in May 2011.

Hydropower at Blyderivierpoortdam Dam in Blyde River

In early 2010, Natural Justice provided legal expertise to the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Authority relating to a potential hydro-electric power generation project at Blyderivierpoortdam in Blyde River Canyon. The area surrounding the dam is a protected area and subject to land claim negotiations, which generated a range of legal questions with respect to which stakeholders would have rights over any revenues generated from such a dam project. Natural Justice partnered on the work with environmental law experts from the University of Cape Town. The analysis was the first of its kind in South Africa and is likely to set a precedent for other similar scenarios in the future.

UNESCO Technical Note

Natural Justice is currently coordinating the drafting of a UNESCO Technical Note on Access and Benefit sharing and BioTrade in the Context of Biosphere Reserves.

Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)

In 2014, Natural Justice was involved in two projects concerning the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). First, from April to November 2014, Natural Justice undertook a review of RSPO’s complaints system in collaboration with BC Initiative, Sdn. Bhd. The review arose from a resolution adopted at the 2012 General Assembly entitled “Guaranteeing Fairness, Transparency and Impartiality in the RSPO Complaints System” and called for the current complaints system to be improved in light of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (particularly Principle 31 on non-judicial grievance mechanisms). After three interim reports and an extensive consultation process, the final report was submitted in December and is publicly available online here. The second project was the revision of a guide for RSPO members on free, prior informed consent and impact assessments, which was led by the Forest Peoples Programme. Natural Justice particularly assisted with the international law and policy aspects of the guidance, which will be publicly available in early 2015. Please contact holly (at) for more information.


Bio-cultural Community Protocols: A Community Approach to Ensuring the Integrity of Environmental Law and Policy (Natural Justice and UNEP, 2009)
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Biocultural Community Protocols and Conservation Pluralism (Jonas et al., 2010)
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African Bio-cultural Community Protocol Initiative Inception Meeting: Working towards the Legal Recognition of Bio-cultural Community Protocols within National Policies (Natural Justice, 2011)
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Asia Regional Initiative on Biocultural Community Protocols: Inception Meeting Report (Natural Justice, 2011)
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Endogenous Development Magazine, No. 6
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The Bushbuckridge Healers’ Path to Justice (Persic and Jonas, 2010)
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Biocultural Community Protocols: Articulating and Asserting Stewardship (Moving Images & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Recognising Customary Rights (LPP, LPPS and Moving Images, 2009)
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Maldhari Biocultural Community Protocol Photo Story (Sahjeevan & Natural Justice, 2012)
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Biocultural Community Protocols: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators
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Images from our work in Africa, Asia, and the Americas
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