Working paper Open Access

Guidelines and Codes on the Participation of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities of the Convention on Biological Diversity: A Comparative Analysis Using Natural Language Processing

Parks, Louisa; Peters, Wim; Lennan, Mitchell

This working paper introduces some results from a method of comparative linguistic analysis applied to legal texts. The method can be used for large amounts of legal text, but relies on deep researcher knowledge for the interpretation of results and, crucially, the specification of the method. This method was developed within the BENELEX project on benefit-sharing and the role of law with a view to building on previous discourse and frame analyses of decisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Conference of Parties (COP). These more manual analyses focused only on those decisions discussing indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs), with the aim of mapping discourses about these groups as well as meanings and mechanisms for participation. To widen this type of analysis to include the whole texts of COP decisions, a methodology employing automated text analysis was needed. The eventual aim for the method outlined here is thus to extend linguistic analysis to the entire corpus of COP decision texts. This will facilitate comparisons between discourses focusing on indigenous peoples and local communities, already identified using more manual techniques, with those that are used to refer to other actors and particularly the private sector. This paper presents work completed so far on the specification of the method and a first ‘test’ application to three CBD documents relating to the traditional knowledge and participation of indigenous peoples and local communities. These are i) the Akwé: Kon Guidelines; the Tkarihawié:ri Code of Ethical Conduct; and the Mo’otz Kuxtal Voluntary Guidelines.

BENELEX Working Paper No 23
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