The relationship of indigenous peoples and local communities with wetlands

Today, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous peoples across the world. Although they represent a relatively small portion of the global population, they account for the largest portion of linguistic and cultural diversity on Earth. The lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous peoples are also estimated to contain the majority of the world’s remaining biodiversity. As the wetlands protected under the Ramsar Convention cover an area larger than Mexico, Ramsar Sites overlap with the territories and lands of numerous indigenous peoples and local communities. Their wise and customary use of wetlands can therefore play and important role in the conservation of these ecosystems. Further, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has a long-standing commitment to promote, recognize and strengthen the active participation of indigenous peoples, and local communities as key stakeholders for conservation and integrated wetland management. In line with this work, the Convention recently a launched global report on the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in wetland management, ‘The relationship of indigenous peoples and local communities with wetlands’.