Law and Policy

The law is an important tool in improving recognition and protection of sacred natural sites and their custodians. A growing overview of national and international law helps custodians, their supporters, governments and companies to respect, secure and advocate the rights that support their cause.

Tell us about any specific law or policy that you think could be added here at

This page offers the following resources:
  • International Law and Policy provides an overview of relevant international conventions
  • National and Subnational Law and Policy provides an overview by country with special attention for legal reviews
  • Statements and Protocols provides an overview of community statements, resolutions and sectoral protocols
  • Useful resources and links

This historic document is the product of an extensive process of collective construction, in which spiritual leaders of different linguistic communities participated.

There are many forms of recognition that aid the protection, conservation and revitalisation of sacred natural sites, some of which may not always or fully be recognised by the law. Many sacred natural sites depend heavily on cultural and spiritual traditions that support their governance and management and these are often enshrined in their religious practices and uses. Recognizing traditional rights goes hand in hand with placing importance on rights to access, user rights, and cultural rights, an area of rights that is also increasingly known as biocultural rights.

Alert System
Many Sacred Natural Sites face a diversity of threats that require an adequate response from their custodians and on occasion also the broader international community. To this end the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative has been developing its relationships and networks with other organisations and individuals in NGOs and Government.  The information presented through these pages is regarded an essential tool in developing responses to threats through such an alert system.

Recent Publications
  • DarviDeclaration
  • Bethlehem Declaration
  • BeninLaw
  • Recognizing and Safeguarding Sacred Sites of Indigenous Peoples in Northern and Arctic Regions
The Sacred Natural Sites Initiative is partnering with Natural Justice, and the Roger Williams University School of Law as well as several other organisations to develop the information presented on this pages.