Local Activities

Local Activities

Natural Justice is working with communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to support them in the governance and management of their territories, areas, and natural resources in a sustainable manner. While international regulatory frameworks are important for dealing with modern global concerns such as biodiversity loss and climate change, their implementation requires careful calibration at the local level to ensure the environmental gains and social justice that they are intended to deliver. The local implementation of environmental legal frameworks is most likely to lead to environmental and social benefits when Indigenous peoples and local communities have the rights to self-determination and to free, prior and informed consent over any activities undertaken on their lands or resources, and when they are able to ensure that any activities or agreements reflect their underlying biocultural values. Without communities’ input, there exists significant potential for laws intended to promote the overarching aims of the Rio Conventions to instead further undermine the communities that have most contributed to local adaptation and the conservation of biodiversity and least contributed to climate change.

The legal and biocultural empowerment of communities is therefore the indispensable condition of the local integrity of international environmental law. Natural Justice argues that the development of laws and guidelines at the international level focus disproportionately on protecting the environment and traditional knowledge without also empowering the communities who live among and customarily use biodiversity. Thus, Natural Justice works with individual communities where we have had a direct request for assistance, as well as coordinating regional initiatives with groups of communities who are working together to develop and refine the theory and practice of biocultural community protocols. Our collaboration with communities informs our work at the (sub-)national and international levels and at the same time, we draw on our national and international experience to improve the substance and methodology of our legal empowerment programmes.


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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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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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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Biocultural Community Protocols and Conservation Pluralism (Jonas et al., 2010)
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The Bushbuckridge Healers’ Path to Justice (Persic and Jonas, 2010)
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Endogenous Development Magazine, No. 6
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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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  • Climate Justice Campaign Planning Workshop
    Cath Traynor from Natural Justice participated in a Campaign Planning Workshop hosted by Oxfam on 16th -20th March 2015, in Johannesburg, South Africa. Workshop participants included global, regional …

  • Call for Applications: Africa Community Rights Fellowship, Kenya Office
    Natural Justice: lawyers for communities and the environment; Kenya office are inviting applications for The Africa Community Rights Fellowship. The fellowship offers young lawyers and other engaged p …

  • Kenya: Mining Bill Submissions to Senate
    A rig belonging to Tullow Oil and Africa Oil who recently commenced with exploring oil in Northern Turkana at Lowarengak, while the Mining Bill explicitly excludes application to fossil fuels such as …

  • Kukula Traditional Healers BCP Revision workshop
    Natural Justice together with partners K2C and Wits Rural Facility (WRF), facilitated a BCP revision workshop for the Kukula Traditional Healers (KTH) of Bushbuckridge, South Africa, on 16 – 18th Febr …

Latest Publication

Biocultural Community Protocols: A Toolkit for Community Facilitators
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Community Protocols

Images from our work in Africa, Asia, and the Americas
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