Biodiv Sci ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (2): 193-199.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2020477

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Applicability and evaluation index system of the term “indigenous and local communities” of the Convention on Biological Diversity in China

Baoping Li1,2, Dayuan Xue1,*()   

  1. 1 College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, Beijing 100081
    2 Law School of Guilin University of Electronic Technology, Guilin, Guangxi 541004
  • Received:2020-12-24 Accepted:2021-02-18 Online:2021-02-20 Published:2021-02-23
  • Contact: Dayuan Xue


Background: The term “indigenous and local communities” is introduced in Article 8(j) of the Convention on Biological Diversity and is used in many important provisions of the Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, particularly traditional knowledge. However, neither of the two legal instruments has defined the term, and the international community has not reached a consensus on the scope of application of the term. The Parties can only infer and interpret the term according to the connotation of the text of the Convention and the specific national conditions of each country. The current general understanding is that the “narrow sense of indigenous and local communities” with colonial characteristics and the “broad sense of indigenous and local communities” with indigenous characteristics only. For China, it is of great significance to clarify whether “indigenous and local communities” are conceptually equivalent to or different from Chinese ethnic minorities and their communities for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the formation of the Nagoya Protocol.
Aims: This article, through the analysis of the origin, the qualitative and quantitative theory and empirical research, selects the important indices for evaluation “indigenous and local communities”, and constructs the assessment indicator system of “characteristics of indigenous and local communities” for Chinese ethnic minorities based on the unit evaluation of specific local community. Then, by use of the system, the actual evaluation is made to the local communities of some ethnic minorities in Southwest China.
Results & Conclusions: The results show that some local ethnic minority communities that still maintain traditional production and life style and retain traditional culture have obvious “indigenous and local community” characteristics, which are applicable to the relevant provisions of international conventions. This article provides the ideas for understanding the international “indigenous and local communities” and domestic “ethnic minorities” in China. Also it provides technical support for China's implementation of the “indigenous and local communities” provisions of the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and furtherly provides a theoretical basis for safeguarding the rights and interests of local ethnic minority communities in the access to and equitable benefit sharing of genetic resources and related traditional knowledge.

Key words: Convention on Biological Diversity, Nagoya Protocol, indigenous and local community, Chinese ethnic minorities