Biodiversity: A COP15 deal must recognize Indigenous peoples as custodians of conservation

Reacting to Indigenous peoples calling on states to ensure that a deal to declare 30% of the world protected by 2030 at the COP15 talks in Montreal respects their rights, Chris Chapman, Amnesty International’s Adviser on Indigenous Rights, said:

“Any 30 x 30 deal being negotiated in the final days of COP15 must recognize that conservation is more effective on Indigenous lands than in state-run protected areas. States must include Indigenous peoples’ territories and customary lands and waters as a category of conservation area in any agreement, as called for by the Indigenous Biodiversity Forum.

“States must also ensure that any agreement addresses human rights violations in protected areas and requires states to respect the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, including by obtaining their free, prior and informed consent for all actions.

“Negotiators on the 30 x 30 deal at COP15 should also remove the requirement for a significant proportion of protected areas to be ‘strictly protected’, as the wording could lead to ‘fortress conservation’ methods that forcibly evict human populations from these areas, including Indigenous peoples and other traditional land users who have cultivated the land for generations.”


COP15, the UN Biodiversity Conference running from 7-19 December in Montreal, marks the latest meeting to discuss the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, an agreement adopted in 1992. The talks aim to set specific goals for 2030 and targets to 2050.

Amnesty International stresses the urgent need to address the loss of biodiversity as an essential step towards climate justice and to protect the right to live in a safe, clean and sustainable environment.