A close association is often found between a specific indigenous people or local community (IPLC) and a specific territory, area or body of natural resources. When such an association between people and place is combined with effective local governance and conservation of nature, we speak of ICCAs (areas and territories conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities). In marine, coastal and island environments, this association includes the rights for small-scale fishing communities to participate in and take responsibility for, integrated management of small-scale fisheries, based on the recognition and protection of access rights to small-scale fisheries.
For many this relationship is much richer than it can be expressed in words. It is a bond of livelihood, energy and health. It is a source of identity and culture, autonomy and freedom. It is the connecting tie among generations, preserving memories from the past, and connecting those to the desired future. It is the ground on which communities learn, identify values and develop self-rules. For many it is also a connection between visible and invisible realities, material and spiritual wealth. With territory and nature goes life, dignity and self-determination as peoples.
Coastal and marine ICCAs and Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs) are becoming known and recognized as systems for upholding local livelihoods. Through access rights for small-scale fisheries to resources and markets, along with equity throughout the value chain; and, through local fisheries and conservation management, local marine resources are managed more sustainably and more equitably by those whose worlds depend on them.
There is a significant diversity in the varieties of marine ICCAs, as no two communities will take the exact same approach to their relationship with the sea. These community-by-community variations create a vitality that is more in keeping with ecosystem variations than large- scale top down approaches to marine protection and fisheries management.
Many ICCAs and LMMAs can, with the free, prior and informed consent of IPLC, contribute to CBD Aichi Target 11, as protected or other conserved areas governed by IPLC. Unlike MPAs, which often exclude the rights of access for IPLC and that are usually created and managed by outside entities like national governments and ENGOs; marine and coastal ICCAs and LMMAs are by nature, locally governed and managed, such that the social, economic, nutritional and ecological benefits belong to the local people and community. The rights of access to both resources and markets for small-scale fisheries are an integral part of these sustainably developed systems.
A key aspect of these rights is the ability to defend them in the face of industrial fishing or non-sustainable competing users. Even countries that prohibit industrial fishing inshore, in support of small-scale fisheries, ICCAs and LMMAs will find such prohibitions difficult to enforce. A global effort is necessary to enforce and uphold these rights.
The ICCA Consortium voluntarily commits to: enhancing the understanding and promoting the appropriate recognition of rights and support to marine and coastal ICCAs along with their associated small-scale fisheries in the regional, national and global arena.
The ICCA Consortium will, in collaboration with UNEP WCMC, develop a new international ICCA Registry that includes at least thirty new and well-documented entries, including marine and coastal areas, utilizing a meticulous application of FPIC procedures.
As a global institution, the ICCA Consortium voluntarily commits to collaborate with the CBD Secretariat, GEF SGP, UNEP WCMC, IUCN, research and advocacy organisations, and UN mechanisms promoting human and IP and LC rights.
The ICCA Consortium will ensure ICCAs are taken into consideration and/or mentioned in international policy processes for food security (including implementation of the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Tenure and for Small Scale Fisheries).
The ICCA Consortium will support the implementation of the voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small-scale fisheries in the context of food security and poverty eradication.