Taking place in Sydney Australia in November this year, the IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) happens every ten years and sets the agenda for protected areas planning, management and governance world-wide. In 2003 the event was held in Durban South Africa under the patronage of Nelson Mandela who said:
I see no future for parks, unless they address the needs of communities as equal partners in their development
(Nelson Mandela, 2003)
The statement marked a ground-breaking trend at the congress towards the recognition of local livelihoods, indigenous peoples and notably the cultural and spiritual values of nature in protected areas. This led to the formulation of a set of recommendations (see page 168, recommendation V.13) that also included sacred natural sites and territories have been of
much support to their global conservation efforts ever since. See for example the 2008 IUCN Best practice Guidelines and the 2008 resolution and 2012 recommendation adopted at the IUCN World Conservation Congresses.
Over time much work has been done on the ground as well as in academia and policy circles to support the conservation efforts of their custodians and protect sacred natural sites. In Sydney, diverse representatives of these groups will present their experiences and build towards the strengthening of the protection and conservation of sacred natural sites. Below is a brief listing of dedicated events, you can download their detailed programs as they become available or download a brief overview:
Advancing Protection of Indigenous Sacred Natural Sites & Territories within the Global Protected Area Agenda
Session: 17 Nov, 1:30-15:00, place t.b.a.
This is the first part of a two-part session, focusing on the latest, innovative strategies for protecting indigenous sacred natural sites and territories (SNS&T). Indigenous people – from bio-cultural landscapes as diverse as the Altai, Kenya, Guatemala and Hawaii – will share their experiences and spotlight practical tools and best practice working hand-in-hand with protected area authorities.
Session: 17 Nov, 15:30-17:00, place t.b.a.
The second part of this two-part session brings together remarkable and courageous stories of indigenous and local community resilience and other approaches (e.g. WILD10 Resolution on No Go Areas) to ensure that sacred natural sites and territories (SNS&T), World Heritage Sites, and all categories of protected areas remain off-limits to mining, extractive industries and other potentially destructive development activities.
Network event and Book Launch on Asian Sacred Natural Sites: Philosophy and Practice in Protected Areas and Conservation [Download the preliminary programme]
Side Event: Date, time and place t.b.a.
The session will have an introduction to the growing network on Asian Sacred Natural Sites and continue with a soft launch of the publication: “Asian Sacred Natural Sites: Philosophy and Practice in Protected Areas and Conservation” followed by presentations from chapter authors.
Well-Being and Sacred Natural Sites in Protected Areas and World Heritage Sites
Session 29 – Stream 3: Monday, 17 November 2014; 10.30am – 12.00pm; Hordern Room
Many sacred natural sites have often been the foundations for protected areas and World Heritage sites and inform conservation practice and ethics. This session will explore the links between our health and wellbeing and that of sacred nature. The session covers elements of science, traditional knowledge, policy and practice.
Workshop – Stream 7: – Tuesday Nov 18th; 10.30 – 12:00; Room t.b.a..
A Participatory workshop bringing protected area managers together with representatives of Indigenous Peoples, mainstream religions and the general public to establish a network and develop training modules and other measures to promote and integrate the cultural and spiritual significance of nature into protected area management and governance.
WCPA Best Practice Guidelines: Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature: Guidelines for Application in Protected Areas.
Side Event – Stream 7: date; time; room t.b.a.
Developing WCPA Best Practice Guidelines and a network on cultural and spiritual significance of nature in protected areas management and governance. With the aim to develop guidelines we seek case studies and examples from field experiences with cultural, historic, social, spiritual, religious and aesthetic significance of nature in protected areas.