Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Community Conserved Areas

Dear colleagues,
> As you know, Community Conserved Areas (CCAs) are> natural sites, resources and species’ habitats> conserved in a voluntary and self-directed way by> indigenous peoples and local communities throughout> the world. This conservation practice, profoundly> intertwined with local strategies for livelihoods> and with the spiritual and material values of local> cultures, is the oldest on earth. Paradoxically, it> is also the least understood and recognised, and it> is in extreme jeopardy today. Through the last> couple of centuries, conservation has come to be> considered the nearly exclusive domain of> professional experts, state agencies and dedicated> non-governmental organisations and companies.> Indigenous peoples and local communities have been> asked (in the best of cases) to participate in> activities conceived and directed by others. Rarely,> if ever, they have been assisted to strengthen their> own unique knowledge, skills and institutions and to> apply them to natural resource management and> conservation. On the contrary, their local> knowledge, skills and institutions have been> systematically neglected when not actively> undermined.> The World Parks Congress of 2003, the Programme of> Work on Protected Areas of the Convention on> Biological Diversity (CBD) of 2004 and First> Congress on Marine Protected Areas of 2005 marked a> broad reassessment of the situation described above.> Community Conserved Areas have been re-discovered as> one of the few remaining avenues to strengthen the> edifice of sustainable natural resource use and> conservation, crumbling under the imperatives of> market-based development. These undoubtedly> important advances in international conservation> policy are rarely fully reflected, however, in> national policies or practices, and much basic> knowledge on CCAs is still to be gathered and> analysed.> Having played a substantive role in promoting the> broad conservation policy reassessment mentioned> above, TILCEPA>,> TGER and> TSL>> have joined forces with SwedBio> and SSNC> to develop and support> a new CCA initiative . The initiative seeks to> deepen the understanding of the CCA phenomenon with> respect to varying historical/ regional contexts; to> identify field-based crucial initiatives where CCAs> can be safeguarded, enabled, strengthened and/or> promoted in practice; and to support consequent> national, regional and international policy , in> particular through the CBD Programme of Work on> Protected Areas and the Millennium Development Goal follow up mechanisms. [...]"
Dr. Grazia Borrini-Feyerabend
Ancienne Ecole Bugnaux CH 1180 Switzerland

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