Cultural, local community and Indigenous peoples’ issues for a Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands

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Matthew Simpson and Dave Pritchard

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Much of the recent growth in contemporary formal recognition of the rights of nature draws on improved understandings about the belief systems and traditional practices of, Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs). The cultural and linguistic heritage of IPLCs contributes to the world’s diversity. Their knowledge and practices have enhanced respect for the environment and natural resources, often offering models of sustainable approaches to water security, food security, health and well-being. Rights of wetlands can be an important component of enlightened and holistic approaches of this kind, which see the human species as part of the ecosystem rather than apart from it. Increasing evidence suggests that land demarcated as Indigenous Lands protects the natural environment through reduced rates of wetland degradation and deforestation, less habitat conversion and lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to surrounding areas. Traditional knowledge and management practices often play a significant role in protecting crucial habitats and the socioecological systems they support. The United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples addresses the most significant issues affecting indigenous peoples – their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. A declaration of wetland rights needs to fit with this philosophy, and to support the wisdom and rights of IPLCs with respect to the landscape and their relationship with wetlands. This paper sets out some key ingredients of the required approach

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program