CEESP Contribution to Inspiring Solutions to Conservation and Development Challenges at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014
In just over a year time the world will gather in Sydney, Australia to address the future of protected areas governance and management and propose inspiring solutions to some of today’s most pressing conservation and development challenges.
The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 will be held 12 – 19 November 2014. The Congress website is now live, and can be accessed at www.worldparkcongress.org.
The Congress theme, Parks, People, Planet – Inspiring Solutions will be addressed through a series of streams and cross-cutting themes which are currently in development. CEESP has the opportunity to impact the Congress and help propose inspiring solutions through these streams and themes, particularly streams six and seven, and the cross-cutting theme of a New Social Compact for Effective and Just Conservation of Biological and Cultural Diversity.
Stream Six on Enhancing the diversity and quality of governance of protected areas will take stock of achievements, share experiences and present practical approaches and tools on “governance of protected areas”— a topic introduced to conservationists only at the previous IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, just a decade ago. The Stream will illustrate progress in diversifying governance types in national protected areas systems (e.g., by embracing shared governance, governance by indigenous peoples and local communities, governance by private entities, and governance by rural municipalities) and in improving governance quality overall (e.g. by striving to follow principles such as ‘legitimacy and voice’, ‘direction’, ‘performance’, ‘accountability’ and ‘fairness and rights’).
The Stream will also identify areas that remain weak, showcase the first results of assessments and evaluations of national protected area systems obtained by applying the IUCN Guidelines on Governance of Protected Areas, and facilitate the participatory development of recommendations for appropriate action.
Stream Seven on Respecting Indigenous and traditional knowledge and cultures will focus on the role of traditional knowledge and practice, as well as cultural and spiritual values, in sustaining and enhancing resilience of Indigenous Peoples and local communities and the lands and seas for which they care. It acknowledges the holistic relationship between Indigenous Peoples and nature, and the collective, inter-dependent nature of traditional knowledge systems and the broader socio-ecological systems of which they are a part. The steam also focuses on new solutions and innovations arising from the use of traditional and local knowledge, as well as from synergising different knowledge systems. In doing so, the stream will affirm the vital role of Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources, and the role that culture plays in decision making processes and institutions.
TILCEPA has worked with the CEESP Steering Committee to develop the the cross-cutting theme on a New Social Compact for Effective and Just Conservation of Biological and Cultural Diversity. In a nutshell, the New Social Compact is a process that runs through the Congress to help create frank dialogue and common ground between different social movements, rights holders, and stakeholders. The New Social Compact idea is about promoting human will to take responsibility and find new possibilities for cooperation. Though the Congress is about protected areas, they are not ends in themselves. The "end goal" is sustainability, conservation and equity. Protected areas are an important instrument in supporting these goals; they are expressions of human responsibility to protect nature, sustain stable ecosystems intact and support human well-being.
There are still different perceptions about protected areas - whose land is this, who is the rightful custodian, how to govern, how to manage, where are the checks and balances, who is responsible, how do we assess equitable and rights based conservation? The New Social Compact will be an opportunity to air some of these issues and find a higher level commitment to problem-solving and relationship-building. The New Social Compact talks to the issue of human duty, cooperation and the bigger picture, within which the World Parks Congress takes place.
The New Social Compact is built on the premise that the Multilateral Environmental Agreements are failing to deliver the types of changes that we require at a time of rapidly contracting windows of opportunity required to turn around impacts of ecosystem degradation, biodiversity loss, soaring poverty and greenhouse gas emissions. To accelerate behavioural change, people have the opportunity to review their historic perceptions of self-interest, their relationships with each other and fixed “positions” that hold back solidarity, empathy and effectiveness. This compact is between humans from diverse languages and cultures, different global regions, diverse age groups, differing ideologies and degrees of power or wealth, united in their compassion for the well-being of the Earth and generations to come, human and other forms. It is designed to allow different world views to be shared in a mediated space, looking for shared human values, inspiration and leadership to move forward compassionately and effectively, recognising the challenges of the modern human economy, scientific indicators, political realities and the gap between rich and poor.
Jamie Kemsey is the Protected Areas Regional Communications Network Manager at Global Protected Areas Programme, IUCN.