Daily report for 15 November 2014

6th International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Parks Congress (WPC)

Participants attended stream sessions throughout the day on the eight themes of governance, climate change, health and wellbeing, human life, conservation goals, indigenous culture, sustainable development, and the new generation. In the evening, a session of the World Leaders’ Dialogues titled “Stand up for your rights: parks and social equity” convened with leaders from conservation, non-government organizations, academia and government to share their perspectives on social equity.


STREAM TWO: Blue and Green Carbon: A New Opportunity for Protected Areas?: Tobias Wittman, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), facilitated this session, which considered the role of PAs in securing both green and blue carbon stores. Mauricio Sanchez Lopez, Comision Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas, Mexico, reported that his country has developed a strategy for PAs to counteract impacts of climate change on natural ecosystems. He noted the four PAs of the Central Sierra Madre Oriental have been selected as priority protected zones and reported the lack of long-term data and high cost of measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) carbon systems were a challenge to measuring carbon in PAs.

Sylvie Goyet, Fondation Internationale Du Banc d'Arguin, Switzerland, presented on blue carbon as a source of sustainable financing of Cacheu Mangrove and Cantanhez Forest National Parks. She reported on a conservation trust fund to support sustainable conservation financing in these PAs, and expressed concern over the downward trend of the carbon markets.

Christopher Dean, Peak District National Park, presented on blanket bogs and their contribution to carbon sequestration, reporting on past threats from industrial pollution and summer wild fires that have caused extreme acidity and high heavy metal content, and depleted seed banks in these landscapes. He highlighted restoration efforts, including damming of gulleys and reintroduction of sphagnum moss.

Paola Fajardo, McGill University, Canada, reported that the San Blas estuarine system in Mexico is populated by mangrove-dependent communities that sustainably harvest mangroves, thus posing no threat to carbon stocks. She noted however that agricultural activities and large dams upstream were responsible for high nitrogen inputs and reduced sediment, which are detrimental to mangroves. She suggested developing payment for ecosystem services (PES), and implementing national policies and regional action plans to enhance watershed management.

Cecilia Gore-Birch Gault, Kimberley Land Council, presented on the North Kimberley Fire Abatement Project, which uses traditional fire burning methods. She noted this is carried out from April to June, before the dry season in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to decrease the risk of wildfires, and reported that Aboriginal land owners are generating carbon credits through fire management.

STREAM THREE: Global Environmental and Health Policy: A Nexus for Change: Moderator Jerril Rechter, VicHealth, Australia, outlined the focus of the session as the linkages between human and environmental health.

Describing the environment-health nexus as one of the great opportunities of the 21th century, Keith Martin, Consortium of Universities for Global Health, suggested that environmental security incorporates the solutions to human security, and stressed the need to demonstrate the positive economic impact of environmental policies on health.

Lamenting that both governments and international policy goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), operate along sectoral silos, CBD Executive Secretary Braulio Dias expressed hope that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda will push for an integrated approach, in particular in relation to the proposed goal on health.

Bridget Finton, Scottish Natural Heritage, and Matti Tapaninen, Natural Heritage Services, Finland, presented case studies on policy and partnerships, and turning policy into practice. Finton provided examples from Scotland on linking health and the environment in government strategies and sectoral policies at different levels.

Suneetha Subramanian, United Nations University, spoke on the need to sustain traditional medical knowledge, and identified linkages between traditional medicine and biodiversity, including the development of new pharmaceuticals, food and health supplements, and livelihoods.

During the discussion, participants addressed questions on, inter alia: monitoring of health impacts of national parks and green spaces; enabling interaction across sectors and levels of policy-making for policy integration; and “bringing nature to people” by creating green spaces in cities.

STREAM FOUR: Nature-based Solutions for Disasters: Lessons from Practices on the Ground: In a session moderated by Robert Mather, IUCN, participants shared experiences on how synergies between strong governance, community participation, watershed conservation and PAs provide solutions for disaster risk reduction and building resilience.

Mark Smith, IUCN, discussed IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative in Guatemala, which reduces flood hazards through governance reforms, watershed restoration, farming systems diversification, enterprise development, and working with communities on disaster preparedness and early warning detection. He underscored that strong governance, coordination across levels of government and strong leadership as essential.

Xiangying Shi, Shanshui Conservation Center, China, presented the Forest for Water Programme. She described how it facilitated access to water for 10 villages by raising awareness on forest ecosystem services and working with local communities to: rehabilitate riparian areas; invest in agroforestry; and use traditional customs and rules to govern smart water use. She underscored building cooperation between communities and PAs, for instance through co-management.

Anu Adhikari, IUCN, discussed risks related to poor road construction in Nepal, including soil erosion and wash-outs.  She described a project that works with local people to revegetate and stabilize slopes and conduct community risk mapping. She noted the opportunity to draw on local and traditional scientific knowledge.

Edwin Ogar, Ekuri Community Forest, Nigeria, shared lessons learned on governance from the country’s largest community-controlled rainforest. He explained how, in order to address food insecurity, forest degradation, biodiversity loss and drought, the community developed a land-use plan and zoned 50% of the land for total protection and the rest for resource use. Ogar underscored how traditional benefit-sharing regimes are used to support good governance and promote community buy-in. He described how some community members voluntarily opted for jail sentences to protect the forest from illegal timber harvest.

STREAM FIVE: Protected Areas and Sustainable Development Goals (Part 1): Jamison Ervin, UNDP, moderated the session. She lamented that society does not care about nature the way it should, and that the development trajectory is riddled with market and policy failures.

Norbu Wangchuk, Bhutan, elaborated on the contributions of PAs to increase Gross National Happiness (GNH) based on the four pillars of sustainable development, preservation of culture, environmental conservation and good governance through resisting unbridled development.

Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu, Malaysia, shared his country’s vision of becoming a fully developed nation by 2020 and the role of PAs in reaching this. He highlighted diversifying biodiversity uses in other areas, including bio-prospecting, recreation and ecotourism. To achieve this goal, he proposed: enhanced management of PAs through developing innovative economic instruments; and improving attitudes toward conservation.

Krishna Prassad Acharya, Nepal, shared experiences from his country’s PAs and described some of the challenges, including resource dependency, human-wildlife conflicts, habitat loss and fragmentation, and lack of local ownership.

Tarun Kathula, India, presented on a programme to mainstream coastal and marine biodiversity conservation into the agricultural sector, saying his region contains a complex ecosystem that is further compromised by agricultural activities, rapid urbanization, oil exploration, aquaculture and tourism.

Aggrey Rwetsiba, Uganda, described several instances where PAs benefit local communities, including through: cultural heritage; a resource base for food; space for recreation, education, and research; and local business opportunities and employment through hotels, restaurants, and infrastructure development.

On the challenges resulting from typhoons in the Upper Marikina River Basin, Angelito Fontanillo, the Philippines, highlighted infrastructure collapse, invasive alien species, soil erosion, and biodiversity loss. He described the government’s strategy to avoid similar situations through developing new policies and management plans, consulting and partnering with various stakeholders, and contracting communities to rehabilitate the river basin.

Manuel Benedicto Lucas, Guatemala, described two management models from his country, and emphasized the importance of building bridges with the local communities, originally regarded as “encroachers.” He said collaboration with communities provides many opportunities for improving environmental conditions.

STREAM FIVE: Protected Areas and Sustainable Development Goals (Part 2): Jamison Ervin, UNDP, introduced the second part of the session on PAs and SDGs, inviting participants to form small groups to identify and discuss the two or three most important aspects of sustainable development for PAs in their own contexts. Representatives from each group then presented a summary of their discussions to the wider group.

Participants raised issues of food and water security, livelihoods and the need to build relationships with local communities in and adjacent to parks and PAs. They noted that local people facing resource scarcity issues may resent the establishment of PAs.

One group recommended that parks and PAs retain some areas where local communities can sustainably access resources, noting that, “they should be treated as a special category because these are the people who can best help us to manage the PAs.” Another group described the need to “share power with the community” in parks and PA management, citing research from Bangladesh suggesting that, despite zoning in PAs, management plans are often absent or minimal. The group stressed the need for communities to be genuinely incorporated in consultation and participation, and the value of “co-learning and co-working.”

One group contrasted management issues in developed countries relating to getting visitors “into parks” for continued viability, with those in developing countries where the issue is to get people “out of parks” where they hunt or forage. The group concluded that the issue is not getting people “in” or “out,” but creating “the right connections to parks,” emphasizing the need for communities to have ownership of parks, and be supported in their goals and implementation.

Others suggested PES as a means whereby benefits can flow to local communities, and highlighted the need to recognize and apply traditional knowledge, in addition to science, in parks management.

STREAM SIX: Governance, Sustainable Use of Wild Resources and Combating Wildlife Crime: Panelists heard examples of community action on these issues from Peru, Ghana, Namibia, India, Uganda, and Costa Rica.

Duan Biggs, University of Queensland, Australia, presented on governance principles for sustainable community-based natural resource management. He highlighted needs for: clearly defined de facto and de jure boundaries that are recognized by local people; high levels of social capital, trust and community coherence in decision-making and action; locally-driven rule development, sanctioning and enforcement regarding harvesting and conservation; social norms that favor collaboration; the perceived likelihood of fair outcomes; and ability to share experiences and ideas within and among community groups.

Melissa Vivacqua Rodrigues, Universidade Federal de São Paolo, Brazil, described conflicting models of development in the Amazon region. She highlighted the rise of new social actors in recent times, such as NGOs and the private sector, noting the challenge of constructing a legal framework that meets the demands of decentralized power.

In the ensuing discussion, participants raised questions about: the risks to communities combating armed poaching; how to gain state recognition of some models of local governance; whether community action continues when NGO support ends; and how to proceed when the community is divided over conservation aims.

On poaching, some suggested maintaining the confidentiality of informants. In relation to government accountability to local communities, it was suggested that community pressure is “the only thing that works.” On the need for NGO support, participants noted that, while some countries have a tradition of local action, others would not undertake a process without external support. Where the community is divided on aims, one recommended being patient and letting people resolve it themselves, while another said conflict should be explicitly negotiated through a resolution process.

STREAM SEVEN: Traditional management systems in achieving national and international policy goals: Claudio Chiarolla, Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), moderated a session exploring how traditional management systems can contribute to goals and targets for climate change and biodiversity, and how national and global policies can impinge on community-level rights.

Alejandro Argumedo, Asociación ANDES, Peru, lamented the marginalization of indigenous peoples’ knowledge in the science-based UN climate convention. He provided an overview of the Indigenous Peoples' Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative (IPCCA), which assesses climate change impacts and traditional resource management adaptation responses in 10 sites around the world. Argumedo explained that the assessment: conducts baseline studies; evaluates trends and scenarios; and identifies local innovations for adaptation planning.

Yiching Song, Centre for Chinese Agricultural Policy, discussed lessons learned from the Seed Park in Stone Village, an IPCCA case study. She noted that climate change is impacting the loss of native crop varieties and land races to address these challenges. Song said that a cooperative was established to produce seeds of land races and manage a nation-wide farmer seed exchange network. She highlighted how this initiative has informed the national seed legislation by advocating the rights of farmers to save and sell their seeds.

Natalie Stoianoff, University of Technology, Sydney, provided a review of shifting Australian policy from outward looking MDGs to SDGs with sustainability indicators that focus on Australia. Tracing a series of national programmes, she discussed how biocultural knowledge is assessed and valued, and how benefit sharing is addressed.

Iara Vasco Ferreira, Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, Brazil, explored national biodiversity policy, and how conflicts have arisen where PAs overlap with indigenous-managed PAs. Sonia Guajajara, Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil, described advocacy on territorial rights and efforts to strengthen and implement existing Brazilian law. She stated “without territories, we cannot be indigenous peoples.”

Wend Wendland, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), discussed current developing-country led negotiations on an international legal instrument for protection of traditional knowledge to address the intellectual property aspects of access and benefit-sharing in relation to genetic resources.

STREAM EIGHT: Pushing Boundaries: Young Peoples' Protected Areas Challenge: Session hosts Crista Valentino, CoalitionWILD, US, and Bruno Monteferri, Conservamos por Naturaleza, Peru, introduced the “Pushing Boundaries Challenge” competition, which invited young people to submit their conservation work within and beyond PAs around the world. He then gave the floor to three winning projects, selected on the basis of their innovativeness, and potential for scaling up, impact and replicability.

Vedharajan Balaji, OMCAR Foundation, India, narrated his personal story as a conservationist activist in coastal areas in India, and introduced his community-based conservation organization, OMCAR, which works on, inter alia: mangrove restoration; environmental education through an interactive centre for children; and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping of seagrass for dugong conservation, including through training of local fishers.

Harmony Patricio, FISHBIO, US, shared her experience with fish conservation in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, stressing the importance of basing conservation activities on the knowledge and priorities of local people. Presenting on her work with local fish conservation zones (FCZs), she explained how fish tagging and monitoring helped provide concrete proof of the impact of FCZs beyond their boundaries, and how information sharing on IUCN Red-Listed species through local-level consultations motivated communities to create new FCZs.

Andrew Reid, Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, South Africa, presented on an open access medicinal street garden project for healing in Cape Town, South Africa. He explained how his work had been motivated by the inherent conflict between conservation managers and “rasta bush doctors,” the latter of whom earn their livelihoods from traditional medicinal plants but also offer healing to people. Based on his experience of building “street gardens,” he distilled three success factors, namely: working with local gardening champions; applying open access principles to the gardens; and using the gardens as a vehicle for bringing people together.

The session closed with interactive small-group discussions around topics relating to action, including: personal motivation; setting a clear vision and goals; creating a motivating environment; and communicating and crafting messages.


Stand Up for Your Rights - Parks and Social Equity: The dialogue began with a poem on the rights of people and the importance of cultural identity by Hawaiian poet, Jamaica Osorio.

Facilitator Patsy Doerr, Thomson Reuters, noted her organization has increased its recognition of the emerging opportunities to combine corporate responsibility, diversity and sustainability. Panelists discussed, among other things: the role of education and awareness creation in enhancing the rights of communities; factors that have led to marginalization of community rights to natural resources; and the role of corporations operating in community lands in marginalization and exclusion of communities.

Ricardo Rozzi, Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, outlined the diminishing value of indigenous languages and traditions during Chile’s history of dicatorship. He emphasized that respecting rights of communities to natural and cultural heritage depends on the capacity of governments and others to monitor and sanction corporations that exclude communities and are involved in land grabbing, pollution and other destructive activities.

Sally Ranney, American Renewable Energy Institute, remarked that the exclusion of Native Americans from their territories, and imposed formal education, deprived them of their rights. She underlined that respecting these rights in relation to present parks and PAs is compromised because their governance has been “purchased by corporations” that also control the politics of many countries.

Luvuyo Mandela, Tyathumzi Advisory, said that South African rural societies have been taught that “anything outside cities is not worthwhile,” which has caused rural-urban migration and undermined jobs in nature conservation. He added that young people do not consider park ranger jobs as “real careers.” Mandela said that corporations operating in community lands often consider communities as sources of cheap labor, adding that this impoverishes them further. He noted that communities should be empowered to negotiate for better deals, and called for a paradigm shift in how local communities take part in decision making.

Myrna Cunningham Kain, Former Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, emphasized that poverty is not a natural condition of indigenous communities but a state caused by the loss of their resources. Kain underscored that under the current structure, expansion of PAs will marginalize communities even further. Supporting Mandela’s call for a paradigm shift, she called for the WPC to promote mechanisms for community involvement in the governance and management of natural resources.

Lucky Sherpa, Green Forum, Nepal, said that even though corporations have begun to recognize the rights of communities to natural and cultural resources, they lack understanding of the issues, adding that communities also need to know their rights.

The IUCN World Congress Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <info@iisd.ca>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org>. This issue was written and edited by Camellia Ibrahim, Mari Luomi, Ph.D., Suzi Malan, Dorothy Wanja Nyingi, Ph.D., and Delia Paul. The Digital Editor is Brad Vincelette. The Editor is Brett Wertz <brett@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Global Environment Facility-United Nations Development Programme, The Helmsley Charitable Trust, and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <http://enb.iisd.org/>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, New York 10022, USA. The IISD team at the World Parks Congress 2014 can be contacted by e-mail at <suzi@iisd.org>.


National governments
Negotiating blocs
Environmental Integrity Group
Non-state coalitions