Key messages


Aichi Biodiversity Target 18 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020, which relates to traditional knowledge and customary sustainable use, has not been met. Ongoing disregard of the vital contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use—including in national biodiversity strategies and action plans—constitutes a major missed opportunity for the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011–2020. This neglect has affected the under-achievement of all 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, with fundamental lessons remaining to be learnt about securing the future of nature and cultures. 

Putting the cultures and rights of IPLCs at the heart of the 2050 biodiversity strategy would deliver sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing, and positive outcomes for biodiversity and climate. 


Overcoming dualism, separation and imbalances in relationships between humans and nature is central to addressing the biodiversity and health crises, including the rise of zoonotic diseases and pandemics. Sustained interactions and partnerships between sciences and indigenous and local knowledge systems—inclusive of women, men, elders and youth—are enriching contemporary problem-solving with holism and reciprocity.

Indigenous ways of knowing and being evoke and inspire new narratives and visions of culture and nature working together within a living and sacred Earth.


IPLC values, ways of life, knowledge, resource governance and management systems, economies and technologies have much to offer in reimagining diverse global systems that can deliver shared visions of solidarity, leaving no one behind. 

IPLCs propose changes towards more balanced relationships within societies and with nature through six key transitions: 

  • Cultural transitions towards diverse ways of knowing and being.
  • Land transitions towards securing customary land tenure of IPLCs.
  • Governance transitions towards inclusive decision-making and self-determined development.
  • Incentives and financial transitions towards rewarding effective culture-based solutions.
  • Economic transitions towards sustainable use and diverse local economies.
  • Food transitions towards revitalising indigenous and local food systems.

These transitions have now become imperatives for the survival of IPLCs and the health of people and planet. They are intergenerational visions honouring the historical struggles and wisdom of past generations, drawing from the experience and innovations of today’s living generations, and embodying the legacy and hopes for future generations. They contribute to humanity’s joint endeavour to save our common home.