Natural Justice

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"Natural Justice is a not-for-profit organization based in Cape Town, South Africa. The organization was established with the vision of using the law to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity through the self-determination of indigenous peoples and local communities. Natural Justice’s mission is to facilitate the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in the development and implementation of law and policy that impacts biodiversity and associated cultural heritage.

Natural Justice works at three levels:

1) At the level of the community with community members, NGOs and CBOs;

2) At the national level with governments; and

3) At the international level with intergovernmental organizations

At all three levels Natural Justice seeks to focus on the four key areas highlighted below:

1) Legal literacy – Natural Justice informs communities about their rights in existing and emerging laws relating to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge. We also inform governmental and intergovernmental institutions engaged in the development and implementation of law and policy relating to biological resources about the rights and interests of communities

2) Dialogue- Natural Justice facilitates an effective interface between communities, governmental and intergovernmental organizations and other stakeholders such as the research and the private sector in an effort to ensure that community concerns and interests regarding their resources are adequately understood and protected

3) Self-determination- Natural Justice works towards the full participation of communities in the development and implementation of law and policy that affects their rights to their lands, resources and knowledge. We do so by strengthening policy spaces for communities in national and international law making processes.

4) Advocacy and access to justice- Natural Justice advocates community rights in national and international forums through lobbying for the legal recognition of community protocols and customary law. We also support communities in seeking access to justice where there has been a violation of rights."


  • Kabir Bavikatte and Harry Jonas, Bio-Cultural Community Protocols; A community approach to ensuring the integrity of environmental law and policy,

Oct 2009.

More Information

See also: Traditional Knowledge Commons