Rights and Communities

Across the planet we collaborate with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to achieve a shared vision for a more secure, inclusive, just, equitable, and resilient future, where wildlife remains a visible, thriving, and culturally valued part of the wild places where our partners live and we work.

At WCS, we choose to work in some of the most remote and high-integrity places left on the planet. For the Indigenous Peoples and local communities that call such places home, these forests, grasslands, and coastal reef systems are their ancestral and traditional territories, the foundation of their cultural identities, and the source of their families’ livelihoods and wellbeing.

By respecting and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and amplifying their voice in conservation policies, practices, and governance structures, WCS Global is traveling the best and necessary pathway to equitable, just, and durable conservation. We employ a human rights-based approach to give effect to this value statement that seeks to protect Key Biodiversity Areas, high-integrity terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and to more effectively mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Their direct and continuing interest in the health of these systems makes Indigenous Peoples and local communities our natural partners and most important political constituency for conserving natural resources in the wild landscapes and seascapes where we work.

Simply said, WCS wants to save wildlife in wild places, and so do the people who live there.

Through our Global Rights + Communities Program, we support many Indigenous Peoples' and local community-led conservation efforts in this shared vision, and also facilitate spaces to bring their perspectives and rights into other conservation models.

Our human rights-based approach

Nominations for an Advisory Committee of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is pleased to share a second call for nominations for an Advisory Committee of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

The Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Advisory Committee (IP&LC-AC) is a new group being created to advise WCS for a proposal it is developing to the Green Climate Fund (GCF)–High Ambition Fund for Nature, Climate and People. The IP&LC-AC will provide advice for the development of an IP&LC Grant Window as well as guidance on the overall proposal Programme design and to help ensure that the unique rights, interests, and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples and local communities are acknowledged, affirmed and implemented as part of this program.

We have developed Frequently Asked Questions document (in English, French, and Spanish), as well as a Terms of Reference for this Advisory Committee (in English, French, and Spanish).

This is a follow-up call for nominations to ensure we have full representation from all seven socio-cultural regional groupings of Indigenous Peoples identified by the United Nations. In this call, we are specifically seeking:

1) Indigenous Peoples applicants from the following regional groupings: the Arctic; Eastern Europe/Russian Federation/Central Asia and Transcaucasus; North America; and Pacific.;

2) Indigenous Peoples and Local Community representatives from Eastern and Southern Africa, as this will be one of the focal regions for the High Ambition Fund; and

3) Local Community representatives from all seven regions.

We kindly request that nominations from those interested be sent to WCS (pclyne@wcs.org and amontefiore@wcs.org) in line with Sections 3 and 4 of the Terms of Reference by close of business on August 15, 2023. Submissions should include: 1) a CV; 2) answers to these IP&LC-AC questions; 3) a nomination from an IP or LC network, if relevant.


Why human rights matter for marine conservation

A thriving planet cannot be one that contains widespread human suffering or stifles human potential; and a thriving humanity cannot exist on a dying planet.

Act Now

Centering Indigenous-led governance of coral reefs

Economist Impact
Experts in the field on why traditional knowledge and guidance are crucial to the health of ocean ecosystems

Act Now

The Time Is Now

PBS Nature
We must build a common vision and purpose for decolonizing conservation.

Act Now

Human rights and COP15

PBS Nature
Global biodiversity protection must center Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ human rights.

Act Now

Indicative Work

IP&LC Conservation Heroes

A collection of stories featuring the voices of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Act Now

Communities Website

Learn more about WCS Projects with Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Act Now

Indigenous-Led Conservation

Highlights of partnerships and collaborations from WCS Canada.

Act Now

A Vision Document for Kahuzi-Biega National Park

WCS has been here for more than 20 years, working with partners to advance a model for effective human rights-based conservation.

Act Now

The State of Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Lands and Territories

A technical review that includes their contributions to global biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services, the pressures they face, and recommendations for actions.

Act Now

The 10-step process for Territorial Land Management

A toolbox for Indigenous Peoples and local communities on land management. Published in Spanish.

Act Now

Related News

View All News

Sign Up for Email Updates

Get news from the field and learn about ways you can help Earth’s most threatened species.