The “Nature in the Footsteps of Our Ancestors” Conference in the Phillipines, attended by leaders of indigenous communities, government representatives, local and international NGOs and UN agencies in Manila over the 29-30 March, 2012, adopted the Manila Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCAs). The adoption of the declaration was the culmination of three sub-national workshops held in November, 2011, which engaged over 100 indigenous leaders on the status of ICCAs, the importance of intellectual property (IP) rights in ICCA processes and the threats the leaders’ communities face.
This broad engagement with community leaders is reflected in the text of the Declaration. The Declaration seeks to guide government and other actors in how to appropriately recognise and engage with ICCAs. Among other things, it asks government to “support the indigenous peoples’ capability to manage their ICCAs… [and] do not invent new systems or processes from somewhere else that will undermine them.”