It is widely recognized that historically, conservation efforts have led to extreme injustices and marginalization of local and indigenous communities across the world. The onslaught on biodiversity continues, exacerbated by the adverse impacts of climate change. Ahead of the upcoming 15th Conference of Parties of the Convention for Biological Diversity in Montreal, 27 conservationists issued a statement on December 2, 2022. The statement was preceded by a week-long deliberation by a smaller core group in the Kashka Suu village of the Kyrgyz Republic.
According to the statement, initiatives built upon respectful, ethical and resilient partnerships with local and indigenous communities are among the most effective approaches, not just to address biodiversity loss, but also for sustainable economic development.
During the workshop leading to the Statement, the core group committed itself to creating the Partners Conservation Alliance, and developing and offering training toolkits and resources for conservation practitioners around the world to strengthen ownership and conservation leadership among local and indigenous communities.
The approach closely relates to our award-winning PARTNERS Principles.
Read on as we break down the acronym into eight broad principles:
‘Presence’ of conservationists to build resilient relationships with communities founded on trust;
‘Aptness’ of community-based interventions with respect to addressing the main threats to biodiversity, underlying science, culture and value orientations, socio-economic situation and social capital;
‘Respect’ with which interactions are held with communities, basing them on beneficence and non-maleficence;
‘Transparency’ in the form of truthfulness and openness in communications while engaging with the communities builds the foundation for long-term and respectful relationships;
‘Negotiations’ that are not transactional but integrative, to help formalize agreements and conservation linkages;
‘Empathy’ in viewing problems, constraints and opportunities from the community’s perspective;
‘Responsiveness’ in adaptively course-correcting and addressing the communities’ needs, emerging threats to conservation and opportunities;
‘Strategic support’ through partnerships with governments in obtaining policy and legal support for community-led conservation.
“This expanding alliance of conservation leaders from around the world who believe in community-led conservation, has the potential to change the way biodiversity conservation is practiced worldwide by making it more effective and ethical.” – Dr. Charu Mishra, Executive Director of the International Snow Leopard Trust.
Special Thanks to:
Whitley Fund for Nature
Acacia Conservation Fund
Melkus Family Foundation
Nature Conservation Foundation