How can jurisdictional approaches to sustainability protect and enhance the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities?

In 2018, 34 subnational governments and 18 indigenous and local community organizations announced their endorsement of the “Guiding Principles for Collaboration between Subnational Governments, Indigenous Peoples, and Local Communities.” The Guiding Principles of Collaboration (GPC) are a set of 13 universal tenets which lay out a blueprint for collaboration between subnational state actors, indigenous peoples and local communities to recognize rights, support livelihoods, strengthen participation of forest-dependent communities in decision-making, and protect indigenous and community environmental defenders within the context of joint action for climate change mitigation. Their implementation would advance the integration of climate justice in subnational efforts for forest conservation. Taking the GPC as a point of departure, we explore how approaches to jurisdictional sustainability can protect and enhance the rights and livelihoods of indigenous peoples (IP) and local communities (LC). We develop and apply a suite of indicators to assess existing conditions across 11 tropical forest jurisdictions toward meeting the commitments described in the GPC. Our findings suggest that while the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are recognized within national legal frameworks, implementation and security of those rights is uneven across subnational jurisdictions. Participation of IP and LC is not yet formalized as part of jurisdictional climate change mitigation initiatives in most cases, limiting their potential to inform policy outcomes and benefit-sharing mechanisms. Monitoring the implementation of the GPC may foster greater accountability for commitments, as well as collective action and learning to support regional transformations to sustainability.

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