Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy

Culture, Spirituality and Conservation

The IUCN CEESP Culture, Spirituality and Conservation (CSC) Theme focuses on increasing understanding of the relationships between culture, biocultural heritage, spirituality and equitable governance in conservation, sustainable development, and environmental and cultural policy.
Local people fishing in Tanguar Hoar, Bangladesh 2007

IUCN CEESP Culture, Spirituality and Conservation Theme Chairs

Kevin Chang, Chair - CEESP Theme on Culture, Spirituality and Conservation 

Kevin Chang

Ashley Massey, CEESP Co-chair

Ashley Massey

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, Co-chair Culture, Spirituality and Conservation

Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy


CSC provides technical advice on evolving norms, policies and the implementation of the World Heritage Convention and other protection efforts as well as assessments of proposed natural heritage sites, indigenous and community conserved areas (or ICCAs, mixed natural and cultural sites), or cultural landscapes with attention to the rights and livelihoods of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Additionally, the theme also explores themes of spirituality, sacred and cultural sites and faith based movements related to conservation and climate change through specialist groups and topic specific task forces and working groups. 


Main Areas of Work
Raising broader awareness of the efforts of local communities and Indigenous peoples linking culture and spirituality with conservation:

Engaging and linking networks to increase sharing of information and practices as appropriate:

Deepening engagements among commission members and across commissions:

Supporting World Heritage Evaluations and coordinating with the IUCN World Heritage Program on aspects of culture: ICOMOS World Heritage meeting in Delhi, India in December 2017; Contributed to drafting of the Nature-Culture Journey Statement

Why someone should become a member of CSC
CSC’s 133 members come from 46 countries and a diversity of backgrounds, including researchers and scholars, indigenous and local community leaders, cultural and spiritual practitioners and civil society advocates.

Participation in this theme provides members a place to share and exchange experiences and contribute to the shaping of the theme, the broader CEESP commission and the union as a whole. Synergies and exchanges often evolve around subject matter that can culminate in conference gatherings, workshops, publications and policy opportunities, peer to peer learning and cultural exchanges.

Membership in the theme is open to any IUCN Commissioner who has joined the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP). Join CEESP here.

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