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EditPhoto Title:Respecting human rights in conservation
EditPhoto Description:Improving outcomes for people and nature
EditImage Url:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_10311128.jpg
EditImage Description:Women carry water from a tributary of the Volta River near Nabogu. Though it's a longer walk, they prefer river over well water because it's less salty.
EditPhoto Credit:© Benjamin Drummond
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Every person on Earth has the right to food, water and a healthy environment — and to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

Studies have found that when indigenous people are given rights to govern their land, biodiversity increases and more trees remain standing.

Conservation efforts that neglect to take these rights into account, however, place individuals and communities at risk of losing their livelihoods and cultural identities.

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Our role

Conservation International has trained, worked with and learned from indigenous peoples for more than 25 years. To ensure that our work respects the rights and voices of these communities and individuals, CI uses a “rights-based approach.” This means that from our on-the-ground field projects to international policy negotiations, CI respects human rights, protects vulnerable groups and encourages good governance: the core principles of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights, a group of global conservation nonprofits, including CI.


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EditText title:Ensuring participation
EditText:From mapping protected areas to implementing land restoration plans, all conservation decisions must be made with nothing less than the full participation of the communities affected by these decisions. CI and its Policy Center for Environment and Peace takes special care to make sure that everywhere we work, the rights of people — indigenous peoples, rural communities, men and women — are respected.
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EditImage Alt Text:Kayapo man on top of the mountains with forest in Brazil. © Cristina Mittermeier
EditCaption Title:Free, Prior and Informed Consent in context
EditCaption Description:Lack of land tenure — that is, ownership and decision-making power over land and natural resources — remains a stubborn problem for rural and indigenous communities around the world. CI’s guidelines on Free, Prior and Informed Consent represent one way to empower these communities to care for nature.
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EditImage Alt Text:Local residents in the Bunduki Gap region of Morogoro in Tanzania, where CEPF grantee the Wildlife Conservation Society of Tanzania manage a tree nursery and plant saplings. The Bunduki Gap is a degraded area between the two forested components of the Uluguru Nature Reserve. © Conservation International/photo by Daniel Rothberg
EditCaption Title:Men and women: Partners in conservation
EditCaption Description:Gender roles and culture are often overlooked in conservation efforts. Through careful collaboration with communities, governments, partners and international agencies, CI assures that the unique needs and priorities of women and men are equitably represented in conservation decision-making.
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EditLink Text:Read More
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EditText title:Training and information sharing
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The free exchange of ideas and sharing of lessons between different sectors of society is imperative to the success of a “rights-based approach.” For this reason, CI has created diverse training materials on key conservation topics — so everyone has the information they need to be part of the solution.

For example, to equip indigenous peoples and other local communities with the information and tools they need to face a changing climate, CI designed a variety of manuals, presentations and courses. One specific toolkit provides local leaders with the information they need to train their communities to fully and effectively participate in ongoing efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change. The materials provide a global context for climate change and key issues related to adaptation, while giving trainers the flexibility to incorporate their own knowledge and experience to customize the information for a local audience.

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EditImage Alt Text:Malagasy farmer in Madagascar. © Cristina Mittermeier
EditCaption Title:Conservation Stewards Program
EditCaption Description:In many parts of the world, communities don’t use natural resources sustainably — simply because there is no economic alternative. To break this cycle, protect nature and improve communities’ quality of life, CI’s Conservation Stewards Program offers education, healthcare, wages and other benefits to local people who agree to protect important habitats.
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EditImage Alt Text:Portrait, Malian woman © Art Wolfe/ www.artwolfe.com
EditCaption Title:Global staff training
EditCaption Description:To assure that our staff has the tools and resources necessary to integrate human rights concerns into their work, CI designs workshops and training events tailored to specific regions and needs. Hear CI field staff from around the world explain why human rights are important to their work.
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EditLink Text:Watch
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    EditSection Title:Maasai woman inspires change in rural Kenya
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      EditImage Description:Beatrice Lempaira
      EditText:

      Beatrice Lempaira, a Maasai woman living in a semi-nomadic community on a vast stretch of open land northwest of Mount Kenya, served as one of CI’s 2013 Indigenous Fellows. Lempaira conducted research to document traditional livestock management techniques that can help Maasai communities be more resilient in the face of climate change. Lempaira also worked with men and women there to identify how they interact differently with their environment and to develop ways for women to be more active in livestock management and climate adaptation. Hear more from Lempaira about her project in this video.

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      EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Peter Stonier
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        EditSection Title:A collective voice for indigenous rights
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          EditImage Description:Members of the Indigenous Advisory Group (from left to right): Ramiro Batzin, Mina Susana Setra, Paulo Celso de oliveira-Pankaru, David James, Kanyinke Sena
          EditText:Created in 2009, CI’s Indigenous Advisory Group provides essential feedback and advice for respecting indigenous peoples’ rights in all that we do. Hailing from Brazil, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia and Kenya, group members share their diverse expertise on indigenous rights and climate change to improve CI strategy. In this video, Indigenous Advisory Group member Kanyinke Sena describes the importance of ensuring free, prior and informed consent.
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          EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Sebastian Perry
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          Edit Section Title: Watch
          Edit Section subtitle: “Nature is part of our life”: Yance Arizona, from the Kerinci tribe in Indonesia, talks about his work with CI’s Indigenous Leaders Conservation Fellowship.
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          Edit Section Title: Learn more
          Edit Section subtitle: Read about how human rights are reflected in all aspects of CI’s work — from field projects to international policies and negotiations.
          Edit Button link: http://blog.conservation.org/?s=human+rights
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          Newsletter

          EditNewsletter Title:Keep in touch
          EditNewsletter Message:Get the latest updates on CI’s important conservation work delivered to your inbox.
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          EditNewsletter Confirmation Message Text:We can't protect the planet without your support​
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          EditDonate Title:Donate
          EditDonate Message:​​​Donate to CI to protect all the parts of nature we can’t live without.​​
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          More of Our Work Links

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          First Image

          EditTitle:Gender and Conservation
          EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_85127321.jpg
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          EditImage Alt Text:Local residents in the Bunduki Gap region of Morogoro in Tanzania. © Conservation International/photo by Daniel Rothberg

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          EditTitle:Partnering with Communities
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          EditImage Alt Text:Women sell traditional crafts, Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area in the Konashen Indigenous District, Southern Guyana © Piotr Naskrecki

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          EditTitle:Livelihoods
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          EditImage Alt Text:Fisherman cast a net to catch fish © Keith A. Ellenbogen