Indigenous led conservation showcased at landmark biodiversity conference

Government representatives from around the world are expected to decide a new global framework to address the world’s biodiversity crisis at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal, Canada, from 7-19 December. Partners of the BHP Foundation Environmental Resilience Program attended the landmark conference to share experiences from projects that take a community and culture first approach to conservation activities to create enduring, resilient ecosystems.

Gallery: BHP Foundation and Environmental Resilience Program partners speaking at COP15. Photos by IISD/ENB photographer Natalia Mroz.

With Indigenous and community-held territories containing 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, a core theme of discussions has focused on including the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous peoples at the heart of action on biodiversity.

With five years of experience in the benefits of taking a culture first, community led approach to conservation, BHP Foundation Environmental Resilience Program Director Melinda Macleod shared how it can be done.

“Recognition of the critical role of Indigenous peoples in biodiversity action must come with financial commitments and wrap-around support,” said Melinda, speaking on a panel this week.

“Corporate philanthropy has a role in providing initial investments and broader support, for example to develop nature markets, to empower Indigenous-led conservation.

“By taking a catalytic approach to effect change at a systemic level, corporate philanthropies can invest early, convene multiple parties, and provide governance experience to support lasting and sustainable change.”

BHP Foundation and its partners spoke at the Nature Positive Pavilion at the biodiversity COP15 on Monday 12 December 2022. A full schedule of events is available on our partner’s website.