The Living Convention has emerged from Natural Justice’s work with Indigenous peoples, local communities and their local organizations. It is a response to an important and often-asked question, namely: “What are our rights at the international level?” For reasons more fully discussed below, this question does not have a straightforward answer. The inaccessibility of international law amounts to a procedural injustice, denying Indigenous peoples and local communities absolute clarity about their rights and responsibilities, as well as those of other actors, under international law. In this context, The Living Convention is designed to democratize international law, and in doing so, better enable Indigenous peoples and local communities to assert and affirm their international rights and local responsibilities.
The Living Convention is an easy-to-use resource on the full spectrum of international law relating – broadly put – to the links between humans and nature. The first edition was distributed to interested individuals in person at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October 2012 and by email to a range of other people whose views we highly respect. We are very grateful to all of the contributors and value the many comments we received.