All the international discussions, debates and agreements and recognition gained by CCAs, however have not yet trickled down completely to the level of national governments.  All across India CCAs exist on lands legally belonging to the government. This adds to the challenges that they face, as these lands are subject to government policies, plans and schemes. Given that government functioning is often top down and centralized, communities in CCAs are not included in any decisions related to their conserved area.

One of the serious threats to CCAs in India has been from badly implemented government laws, policies and development projects. As of now there is no comprehensive policy or law to deal with CCAs in the country. There do exit other laws which provide some space for CCAs, particularly a few new ones such as the Forest Rights Act 2006, do provide spaces that many forest based CCAs are and can take advantage of.

For last few years Kalpavriksh has also been analysing the legal spaces for CCAs and documenting their impact on ground. The objective is to understand what are the pros and cons of CCAs using these legal spaces, the impacts of these laws and policies on ground and suggest way in which they could be improved to provide a better facilitative environment to CCAs. Kalpavriksh has tried to lucidly place the Few Acts that have a direct relevance for CCAs (In Hindi)

Community Reserves and Conservation Reserves

Community Reserves and Conservation Reserves under Wild Life Protection Act (Section 36 B&D) brought about with a good intention to increased people‚Äôs participation in these two kinds of protected areas, the provisions related to them, particularly community reserves continue to have limitations because of which they have not been much on ground yet. Kalpavriksh has suggested ways by which it could be made more relevant to existing CCAs.

Forest Rights Act

The provision of the Community Forestry Resource (section 3 (1) i and section 5, are unique in providing an opportunity to the local communities to claim, conserve and manage their traditionally protected forests.Kalpavriksh has been tracking the progress on the ground implementation of this provision and particularly exploring whether CCAs have been able to use this provision to their benefit. If yes, how?

The 11th Five Year Plan

In addition, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has initiated a scheme under the    11th Five year Plan to financially and otherwise recognize and support CCAs. Kalpavriksh has been involved in helping the MoEF draft a set of guidelines to ensure that such recognition and support facilitates the CCAs further rather than affecting them negatively.

Kalpavriksh has also been involved (along with many country participants) in a process of analyzing legal and policy recognition for ICCAs in various countries. This is to understand to what extent countries have honoured their commitment to CBD. This analysis is both  quantitative and qualitative for the number of countries that have recognised ICCAs and the degrees and kinds of such recognition.