Local participation in international processes
Chapter 5 presents two practical views about local participation and agency in the Convention on Biological Diversity. First, it presents an exhaustive analysis of the ways that the decisions of the CBD’s Conference of the Parties describe participation by indigenous peoples and local communities over time, including the levels at which this participation is supposed to take place (local, domestic, or international). Practical pointers for local participation arise from the analysis – raising issues in the traditional knowledge cross-cutting issue area can expand spaces of participation to other cross-cutting issues over time, for example. Another major finding from the analysis is that one clear path for local communities to participate directly in the CBD is by providing inputs into international processes.
The inputs path forms part of the motivation for the discussion in the second half of the chapter, which focuses on the potential of community protocols as tools for local communities to participate directly – or indirectly via the efforts of non-governmental organizations – at the international level. Community protocols are primarily tools used to address actors in domestic contexts, but they have some potential to address international actors, particularly since they are recognized in the CBD’s Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing. The second half of the chapter reflects on this novel view of community protocols, and ties their international potential to their development in inclusive and participatory ways, and their success in domestic contexts.