(This article was originally posted by the ICCA Consortium)
KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA—Two hundred forty-seven representatives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities gathered in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, for the 2nd Asia Parks Congress, from 24-29 May 2022, endorsed the Api-Api Declaration. They represented communities and peoples from nine countries in Asia.
Read the full declaration here (PDF File).
The newly released Declaration calls for a moratorium against declaring any protected areas without the involvement of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, without recognizing Indigenous governance and customary management systems, and without their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).
FPIC is a specific right of the Indigenous Peoples and is recognized in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It allows them to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories.
The Declaration is named after Api-Api, one of the Indigenous names for Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah state in Malaysia.
Representatives of Indigenous peoples and local communities also called conservation groups and governments to commit to rights-based approaches as the standard in all existing and future conservation initiatives. They urged to recognize and support the leadership of grassroots communities in conservation initiatives, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities.