Indigenous Negotiations Resource Guide


Indigenous peoples manage or have tenure rights over at least a quarter of the world’s land, including approximately 40 percent of terrestrial protected areas and 37 percent of ecologically intact landscapes.




Research has shown that the lands of Indigenous peoples and local communities are better managed and experience less species decline than other areas. Their knowledge and practices are essential to protecting nature. And recognizing their territories by establishing formal, legally binding land rights enables Indigenous communities to practice their own systems of resource management, which in turn helps to protect lands and water — and supports global conservation goals. But globally, Indigenous lands are facing increased pressure from development, mining and farming. All too often, Indigenous and local communities are forced into agreements that undermine their rights and limit their ability to sustainably manage their lands, waters, and natural resources.

To address this, Conservation International has established the Negotiations Program for Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities, a comprehensive training and mentoring program for community-level negotiators. The program includes online and in-person workshops on negotiation strategies and best practices, a network of experienced community negotiators who act as mentors, a case study library, and an Indigenous Negotiations Resource Guide.

The Indigenous Negotiations Resource Guide, designed in consultation with Indigenous partners, will support Indigenous peoples and local communities to negotiate effective and equitable benefit sharing agreements with those seeking to develop their lands, waters and resources, such as for extractive and infrastructure projects. In addition, well-negotiated agreements between communities and conservation NGOs can help maximize conservation benefits. These negotiated agreements will not only support Indigenous rights, but also address communities’ priorities and visions for the future, and support them in continuing to safeguard the nature upon which we all depend.



© Shawn Heinrichs


The Negotiations Resource Guide is a tool for Indigenous communities to operationalize Free, Prior and Informed Consent — the right of Indigenous peoples to give or withhold their consent for any action that would affect their lands or territories — and to effectively engage in negotiations when they choose to do so.

The guide includes a collection of best practices, lessons learned and case studies to assist Indigenous negotiators at all stages of a negotiation. Chapters describe key considerations for preparing to negotiate, strategies for the negotiation itself, and technical aspects of negotiated agreements, while emphasizing a community’s right to decide throughout all stages of a negotiation.

For more information, please contact Patricia Dunne, Director, Applied Social Science ( or Carly Quisenberry, Senior Manager, Indigenous Negotiations & Inclusive Technologies (


Case Studies