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“ICCAs" are indigenous peoples' and community conserved territories and areas. They achieve conservation of species and the natural environment, together with other social and cultural objectives.

ICCAs share the following three characteristics:

  1. A people or community is closely connected to a well-defined territory, area or species (e.g., because of survival and dependence for livelihood, because of historical and cultural reasons);
  2. The community is the major player in decision-making (governance) and implementation regarding the management of the territory, area or species, implying that a community institution has the capacity to develop and enforce regulations; (in many situations other stakeholders are involved, but primary decision-making rests de facto with the community);
  3. The community management decisions and efforts lead to the conservation of the territory, area or species and associated cultural values (the conscious objective of management may be different than conservation per se, and be, for instance, related to material livelihood, water security, safeguarding of cultural and spiritual places, etc.)

Beyond these shared characteristics, ICCAs are very diverse. Some examples include indigenous territories, indigenous protected areas, cultural land- and seascapes, sacred natural sites, migration routes of mobile indigenous peoples, bio-cultural heritage territories, sustainable resource reserves, and community-managed areas.