Research ArticleSCIENCE POLICY

A “Global Safety Net” to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize Earth’s climate

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Science Advances  04 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 36, eabb2824
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2824

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  • RE:
    • Karl Burkart
    • Other Contributors:
      • Carly Vynne
      • Eric Dinerstein
      • Andy Lee
      • Anup Joshi
      • Félix Pharand-Deschênes
      • Manno França
      • Sanjiv Fernando
      • Tanya Birch
      • Greg Asner
      • David Olson

    According to our paper "A ‘Global Safety Net' to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize Earth’s climate" (Dinerstein et al. 2020), 50.4% of the world's lands are of particular importance for the conservation of biodiversity and the preservation of ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage), 35.4% of which overlap with Indigenous territories [1]. Indigenous Peoples (IP) have been managing and protecting these lands for hundreds, even thousands of years, resulting in rich, biodiverse ecosystems, maintaining vast stores of carbon, and other ecosystem services [2]. Their stewardship practices contrast with other management schemes, including some nationally designated Protected Areas (PAs), that continue to be degraded [3].


    It is apparent that in order to achieve the high-level goals of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), an Indigenous-led conservation agenda is needed [4]. Therefore, the UN post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) should actively support the expansion of land tenure rights as a primary means to achieving the goals of the CBD. The GBF should also provide clear safeguards to protect the integrity of tribal sovereignty and self-governance.


    Yet, as the Dutta et al. commentary points out [x], governments have incorporated Indigenous lands into their area-based conservation targets without free, pior, and informed consent. In some cases, this has resulted in 'land grabs...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE:A “Global Safety Net” to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilize Earth’s climate
    • Anwesha Dutta, Postdoctoral Researcher, Christian Michelsen Institute
    • Other Contributors:
      • James Allan, Post Doctoral Researcher, University of Amsterdam
      • Thomas Worsdell, Independent Researcher, N/A
      • Rosaleen Duffy, Professor, The University of Sheffield
      • Kundan Kumar, Director, Asia Program, Rights and Resources Initiative
      • Nitin Rai, Research Fellow, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE)
      • Harry W Fischer, Associate Senior Lecturer, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)
      • Gam Shimray, Secretary General, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
      • Pasang Dolma Sherpa, Executive Director, Center for Indigenous Peoples' Research and Development (CIPRED)

    Title: Re-thinking the Global Safety Net: Local leadership in Global Conservation

    Dinerstein et al.’s recent article “A Global Safety Net”’ presents a spatial argument to conserve 50% of Earth’s terrestrial area to reverse biodiversity loss and stabilise the climate (Dinerstein et al., 2020). Their contribution is showing where nature conservation can help tackle the climate and biodiversity crises simultaneously. These interrelated challenges have been dealt with separately for too long and we commend Dinerstein et al. on their efforts. It is especially significant because the authors propose a key role for Indigenous Peoples’ (IPs) lands in the Global Safety Net (GSN) (Dinerstein et al., 2020). However, we have several concerns around the application of the GSN and the proposed role of Indigenous Peoples (IPs), Local Communities (LCs) and their lands within it.

    The GSN approaches the role of IPs in a manner that could perpetuate historical and colonial injustices, by ignoring the long history of exclusion, state takeover of IPs’ and LCs’ lands (Mollett & Kepe, 2018; Tauli-Corpuz, Alcorn, Molnar, Healy, & Barrow, 2020). Through their customary practices IPs and LCs have already demonstrated both leadership and agency in biodiversity conservation across the world (Tauli-Corpuz et al., 2020). This has been documented through decades of research highlighting communities’ ability to effectively manage local resources, particularly when granted substan...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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