Skip to main content


Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities across Asia are facing significant challenges to their traditional ways of life, customary land and natural resources, including extractivism, land evictions and criminalisation.

In Asia, we partner with Pgakenyaw Association for Sustainable Development (PASD) and the Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand Association (IMPECT) in Thailand, and Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) in the Philippines, who are working to address these issues.

Explore our work inPhilippinesThailand




Showcase on Indigenous contributions to biodiversity conservation

Transformative Pathways website launches The Transformative Pathways website, launched on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2023, is a platform to evidence indigenous peoples and local communities’ work safeguarding biodiversity across the globe. The website is a repository of information to ensure that…

Youth for Indigenous Knowledge and Biodiversity

Many children and young indigenous peoples whose families have moved to the cities and grew up in the cities oftentimes feel a disconnect to their communities of origin. This has been expressed by young people in former youth activities where there is a great interest…

Facing Extinction, Defending Life

This film has been a co-creation between LifeMosaic, and many Indigenous leaders, filmmakers and advisors from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Polynesia. It tells the story of the threats to biodiversity, the climate emergency, and the rapid destruction of cultural diversity: an interconnected story of…

Indigenous Peoples’ Voices on Biodiversity

In commemoration of the International Day for Biodiversity, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) featured powerful videos that showcased the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Women, and Indigenous Youth. With the theme "From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity," this year's celebration served as a…
Group photo of the Transformative Pathways Annual Review and Planning Meeting, Included were community members from Thailand, indigenous representatives and staff from partners in Peru, Thailand, Philippines and Kenya, as well as staff from global supporting organizations. Chiang Mai, 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to strengthen the project, reflecting on the previous year, plan for the next, share workplans, participate in capacity-building sessions on CBD international policy processes, workshops on sharing biodiversity monitoring experiences, and advocacy strategies. Photo by PASD.

First Transformative Pathways In-Person Meeting: Annual Planning and Review

The first in-person meeting of the Transformative Pathways consortium took place in Thailand in February 2023. Around 50 participants were present, including project partners, community members and Thai officials. The first day was focused on partner presentations which explored their visions for how this project…

PIKP February 2023 Update

To prepare for the global discussions on the Convention on Biological Diversity in the last quarter of 2022, the Partners for Indigenous Knowledge Philippines (PIKP) met with the national agency Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Biodiversity Management Bureau and took part in its…

Further info

The situation of indigenous people, local communities and biodiversity in Asia is complex and varied, as there are many different indigenous and ethnic communities and ecosystems across the continent. In Asia, there are approximately 400 million Indigenous Peoples, making this the largest among all the seven UN socio-cultural regions of the world. Overall, however, many indigenous peoples and local communities  in Asia face significant challenges in maintaining their traditional ways of life, protecting their lands and natural resources and State recognition of their identities and rights. 

Among these challenges are criminalisation and violations of human rights that stem from extractive industries, agri-business, tourism, land-grabbing, eviction from protected areas and the shrinking of rights-based civil spaces. Defending these rights and organising actions of protest have become highly risky, with no access to justice. 

Shrinking civic space is also an issue for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Asia, which includes restrictive finance laws against Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). This undermines CSO’s ability to further economic development, support democracy and promote human rights, and navigating and managing this situation has resulted in a significant burden of work on rights-based organisations, especially Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Community organisations. 

Despite these challenges, many indigenous and local communities in Asia are actively working to protect their lands and natural resources, often with the support of civil society groups and international organizations. These efforts include community-based conservation initiatives that promote sustainable land use practices, as well as advocacy and legal action to defend indigenous and community rights and territories. This way Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities continue to defend their homes, govern themselves through customary laws, and practice knowledge systems which are contributing to advance the global goals set by the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. 

Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ guardianship and spiritual relationships with lands and territories are distinct features of their worldviews. A strong sense of community, and kinship solidarity, collective ownership of land and resources, and consensus decision-making are some of the distinctive elements of social and political institutions that set Indigenous Peoples and local Communities apart. 

A group photo featuring the knowledge holders of the Indigenous Karen village of Huay Ee Khang. Huay Ee Khang village is in the Chiang Mai Province of Thailand.
A group photo featuring the knowledge holders of the Karen community village of Huay Ee Khang. Huay Ee Khang village is in the Chiang Mai Province of Thailand. Photo by Lakpa Nuri Sherpa/Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
A forester shows how to properly measure the diameter of a tree as part of the initial steps of measuring tree biomass during a training on resource inventory mapping held in Nueva Viscaya, Philippines.
A forester shows how to properly measure the diameter of a tree as part of the initial steps of measuring tree biomass during a training on resource inventory mapping held in Nueva Viscaya, Philippines. Photo by Ella Carino/PIKP