From The Nature Conservancy.World Watch's recent article by Mac Chapin, "A Challenge to Conservationists," raises important issues regarding the fundamental need to involve indigenous and traditional communities in conservation efforts.
An open dialogue is critical to strengthening the collaboration among indigenous communities and conservationists.
For more than 50 years, The Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time Nature Conservancy Nature Conservancy, nonprofit organization established in 1951 to preserve or aid in the preservation of natural environments. It protects wilderness areas in the United States and Canada and is affiliated with similar groups in Latin America and the Caribbean. has depended upon partnerships with local peoples to conserve some of the most biologically critical and threatened ecosystems on Earth.
Most of the world's 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 exists in areas inhabited by people. The Nature Conservancy knows that effective conservation cannot be achieved unless the people who live and rely on those lands are an integral part of the process.
Among The Nature Conservancy's core values is a "Commitment to People," which states that we "respect the needs of local communities by developing ways to conserve biological diversity while at the same time enabling humans to live productively and sustainably on the landscape."
The Nature Conservancy works in all 50 of the 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. , as well as in 28 countries around the world. In more than 30 of those programs--nationally and internationally--the Conservancy is working with indigenous communities to help protect their traditional lands.
From Colombia, where we have helped indigenous tribes reacquire their sacred lands, to Alaska, where we are working with Native Alaskans to incorporate traditional knowledge and subsistence subsistence,
n the state of being supported or remaining alive with a minimum of essentials. activities into conservation plans, Conservancy employees strive to embody that value in everything they do.
Mr. Chapin's underlying premise--that large international conservation groups are by their very nature incapable of effectively working with indigenous and traditional peoples--is simply incorrect.
Such a premise suggests that any organization working in disparate locations around the world and receiving significant individual, governmental or corporate support should not even attempt to work in areas with indigenous populations for fear of imposing foreign priorities and irreparably ir·rep·a·ra·ble
Impossible to repair, rectify, or amend: irreparable harm; irreparable damages.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin harming traditional lifestyles.
On the contrary, organizations of every size should use their resources to reach out to all segments of the world to form partnerships to conserve critical ecosystems.
Mr. Chapin states that "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. and conservationists have very different agendas." The reality is that indigenous people and conservationists struggle against many of the same challenges--from expanding global trade and epidemics to the effects of climate change and irresponsible corporate activities.
Only through working collaboratively can these challenges be confronted. Just as indigenous communities have unique knowledge of their land that is essential to conserving biodiversity, organizations such as the Conservancy have scientific and financial resources that are needed in today's global society to help conserve wildlife and local ways of life.
Mr. Chapin suggests that as conservation groups increasingly rely on science, they grow increasingly dismissive dis·mis·sive
1. Serving to dismiss.
2. Showing indifference or disregard: a dismissive shrug.
Adj. 1. of indigenous populations. But science and social responsibility can--and must--go hand in hand.
Science helps The Nature Conservancy determine where we work to protect critical habitat, but science does not confine us in how we work to conserve those lands.
Each community is unique. Our tools, such as participatory conservation, enable us to listen to community concerns and develop joint solutions that have scientific credibility. We build long-term relationships with communities, continually refine our plans, and jointly assess our activities.
But we recognize that more must be done.
The Conservancy in recent years has expanded our staff and investment in international programs to address local issues more effectively. We have established networking groups to allow our staff collaborating with international communities to share strategies and lessons learned.
The Conservancy also encouraged the creation of a year-long Global Partnership Dialogue to be launched at the 2004 World Conservation Congress in Bangkok to bring together indigenous, local, and NGO NGO
Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization leaders from around the world to discuss how to improve partnerships with conservation groups.
And the Conservancy's philosophy of adaptive management Adaptive management
An approach to management of natural resources that emphasizes how little is known about the dynamics of ecosystems and that as more is learned management will evolve and improve. drives us to continuously review our activities. Regular conservation audits evaluate the effectiveness of partnerships with communities and other stakeholders Stakeholders
All parties that have an interest, financial or otherwise, in a firm-stockholders, creditors, bondholders, employees, customers, management, the community, and the government. .
Learning the unique cultural complexities of indigenous groups is a continuous process. Just as learning the complexities and methods of conservation is an evolving science.
But neither science nor community involvement can be ignored, and both are essential tools in achieving the common goal of conservationists and indigenous populations: preserving the Earth's natural resources and ecosystems that will sustain our children, grandchildren GRANDCHILDREN, domestic relations. The children of one's children. Sometimes these may claim bequests given in a will to children, though in general they can make no such claim. 6 Co. 16. , and beyond.
To learn more about The Nature Conservancy's work with indigenous and traditional communities, visit www.nature.org.
STEVEN J. MCCORMICK
President & CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. , The Nature Conservancy