For many custodian communities, the connection with their territories is much richer than any word or label can express. It is a bond of livelihood, energy, and health. It is a source of identity and culture, autonomy, and freedom. It is the connecting tie among generations, preserving memories from the past, and connecting those to the desired future. It is the ground on which communities learn, identify values, and develop self-rule.
In the last decades, ICCAs have become known and recognised as essential features for the conservation of nature, sustainable livelihoods, the realisation of collective rights and responsibilities, and the wellness of living beings on our planet—all of which are under attack by a variety of economic and political forces.
ICCAs face critical threats and challenges to their continued existence and functioning, such as land and water grabbing, inappropriate “development” interventions, undermining of traditional institutions, lack of appropriate political, legal, and economic support, external and internal conflicts, and environmental and socio-economic disasters.