The Living Convention and Human Rights Standards for Conservation

The rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are addressed in a wide range of international instruments, each with its own particular focus. As a result, indigenous peoples and local communities are often unaware of their rights relating to issues such as development on their territories, lands and waters and the use of their natural resources and knowledge.

To help to publicize information about these rights, Natural Justice has developed an information resource which it calls the Living Convention. It provides a range of the most important provisions in international law relating to the linkages between indigenous and local communities and their territories, lands, natural resources, and knowledge systems. The Living Convention reproduces provisions from international instruments that support the integrity and resilience of Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities’ territories and other social-ecological systems. It organizes rights in substantive and procedural categories, and under headings chosen to reflect rights as expressed and deployed in practice at local, national and international levels. For example, all provisions that deal with the principle of “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) are grouped under one heading, regardless of whether they are located in human rights instruments or multilateral environmental agreements. The Living Convention also includes annexes, which (among other things): detail the instruments reviewed, included, and excluded from the Compendium; provides a list of relevant international and regional judgments; and lists a number of indigenous peoples’ declarations.

The Living Convention is available for download in English and Spanish at

Further Information

Natural Justice’s web site: