From American and Bolivian colleagues in the field.We are writing a response to the provocative article "A Challenge to Conservationists," by Mac Chapin. We have each been involved in the field for over 30 years; one of us is an American currently working for The Garfield Foundation and Field Museum, previously with World Wildlife Fund (WWF See Windows Workflow Foundation. ) and USAID USAID United States Agency for International Development
USAID Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo Internacional (Spanish) , and expert consultant to the Global Environmental Facility, with experience in Asia, Africa and the Americas. The other is a Bolivian who has worked on projects bridging indigenous and nonindigenous peoples, consulted for various international organizations, and founded several NGOs. We are writing this letter as concerned professionals, and are not representing the views of any organization. We believe the article raises global issues that merit careful, public discussion. We hope that the discussion of the key issues in the article will not be lost in the controversy over the details about particular individuals or institutions. There are many examples of conservation organizations working well with indigenous communities, but it is good practice to reflect on serious issues and failures in honest and constructive ways.
Why are these issues so important? Indigenous peoples' territories overlap with the remaining high biodiversity biodiversity: see biological diversity.
Quantity of plant and animal species found in a given environment. Sometimes habitat diversity (the variety of places where organisms live) and genetic diversity (the variety of traits expressed areas of the world. Indigenous communities and their remote territories are under tremendous threats from many quarters--including, at times, from those promoting conservation. Mac Chapin sketches some of the serious conflicts, raising issues from human rights violations to failures to conserve biodiversity. These are not new issues; since the 1970s a handful of concerned conservationists has written and talked about these failures from insiders' perspectives, and offered solutions. Global forums have brought donors, conservation organizations, and indigenous organizational representatives together to seek solutions to this problem, and analyses have documented the problem. But the pattern has continued, probably due to inertia against major organizational changes and internal organizational politics. In different regions of the world, the specifics and scale of the violations vary according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the ways that international conservation organizations have engaged with, and/or tacitly supported, national governments and international corporations to ignore or run roughshod Verb 1. run roughshod - treat inconsiderately or harshly
do by, treat, handle - interact in a certain way; "Do right by her"; "Treat him with caution, please"; "Handle the press reporters gently" over indigenous rights. Organizations' development departments use photographs of indigenous people to sell "success" and raise funds, yet they are rarely held accountable against their record on the ground in specific places. The organizations have added programs that contain the catchword "governance" to quiet increasingly vocal external and internal critics, instead of making a serious investment in the structural changes and budget allocations necessary for collaborating with indigenous peoples The term indigenous peoples has no universal, standard or fixed definition, but can be used about any ethnic group who inhabit the geographic region with which they have the earliest historical connection. .
If we are truly concerned about the loss of biodiversity, new paradigms New Paradigm
In the investing world, a totally new way of doing things that has a huge effect on business.
The word "paradigm" is defined as a pattern or model, and it has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework. of collaboration are needed to address this crisis, not more catchwords. For collaboration to proceed, non-indigenous society needs to acknowledge the challenge of representation and communication across cultures, and make a continuous effort to maintain processes whereby conservationists and donors can understand the perspectives and desires of indigenous people and vice versa--i.e., use different processes than the usual project "participation" and "consultation" processes. Only by departing from this recognition will it be possible to position indigenous leadership at the decision-making table, as collaborators with different traditions of communication and analysis, and thereby discover a new way forward.
We recommend that the first step to reduce tensions, before any more studies are initiated, would be off-the-record open roundtable regional discussions--facilitated by an indigenous organization, funded without donor intervention and without imposed deadlines--along the lines of the Coloquios in the Gran Chaco Gran Chaco (grän chä`kō) or Chaco, c.250,000 sq mi (647,500 sq km), extensive lowland plain, central South America. It is sparsely populated and is divided among Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina. , based on Bolivian Guarani gua·ra·ni
n. pl. guarani or gua·ra·nis
See Table at currency.
[Spanish guaraní, Guarani; see Guarani.]
Noun 1. indigenous practice for problem solving problem solving
Process involved in finding a solution to a problem. Many animals routinely solve problems of locomotion, food finding, and shelter through trial and error. , similar to "leveling off" processes in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, region of Asia (1990 est. pop. 442,500,000), c.1,740,000 sq mi (4,506,600 sq km), bounded roughly by the Indian subcontinent on the west, China on the north, and the Pacific Ocean on the east. . The roundtable would follow rules of engagement whereby all parties respect and listen to each others' perspectives and experiences. Followup would come naturally; there would be no pressure to produce results at these meetings. Bringing together conservation organization CEOs, indigenous leadership, and representatives of affected communities in a serious venue to openly discuss their experiences and perspectives could clear the air in a less public forum, while beginning to build more respectful collaboration. At the IUCN IUCN
International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. , in September 2003, a "Peace and Reconciliation" process was recommended as a more high-profile alternative for addressing past abuses and conflicts between conservation organizations and indigenous peoples. While an interesting proposal, like the IUCN proposal that Mac Chapin mentions, it runs the risk of being another global event run in non-indigenous ways, out of touch with local processes, and further polarizing the situation. Global events allow the conservation organizations to check off the requirement without affecting their business in remote sites, away from the scrutiny of anyone but local indigenous people who do not participate in global events.
As a second step, independent investigations could put to rest the current rumors and accusations (which have aroused foundations' concerns), and lay the basis for moving forward on a more positive footing--but only if a sincere effort were made to do this in a different manner driven by indigenous time, perspectives and processes, rather than in the very western analytical format and processes typically used by outside expert teams working with their narrowly focused concepts, i.e., specialists in "corridors."
Concurrent with the collaborative investigation, a third step would be for interested indigenous leaders to host regional workshops to build the capacity of donors and conservation organizations to work effectively with indigenous communities (an inversion of the usual workshop where donors and conservation organizations build capacity of locals to do what the project expects them to do). Indigenous leaders would share their perspectives on why good-intentioned outsiders are failing, and how conservationists and donors could better work with indigenous communities to protect their lands and resources into the future. Conservationists would need to commit to actively work alongside indigenous organizations to promote creative use of existing legal instruments and ILO ILO
International Labor Organization
Noun 1. ILO - the United Nations agency concerned with the interests of labor
International Labor Organization, International Labour Organization 169 [an International Labor Organization International Labor Organization (ILO), specialized agency of the United Nations, with headquarters in Geneva. It was created in 1919 by the Versailles Treaty and affiliated with the League of Nations until 1945, when it voted to sever ties with the League. convention that recognizes indigenous rights] in order to protect indigenous territories in nations where governments are ignoring or oppressing indigenous peoples. This would also establish a more equal footing for true collaboration, if all parties entered into the workshops with open minds, willing to learn.
Finally, if more donors would take the risk to directly support indigenous organizations' efforts to conserve their own territories, rather than only funding them through big conservation organizations, and more closely monitor the outcomes of their big grants to large organizations, this would help recognize the organizations and projects that have good records, and nurture an organizational culture This article or section is written like an .
Please help [ rewrite this article] from a neutral point of view.
Mark blatant advertising for , using . more supportive of those cadres of professionals who have been trying to make reforms from within these organizations for the past decade, but who may not publicly criticize the current status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. , because it could be inconvenient for their careers. What is at risk is nothing less than the future of biological and cultural diversity.
J. ALCORN AND A. ZARZYCKI
United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and Bolivia