Since its launch in 2021, the IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidelines “Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature in Protected Areas” gone from being the most downloaded BPG to serving a base for trainings and workshops.
Most recently, Josep-Maria Mallarach, member of the IUCN Specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas conducted a workshop at the IPROMO summer course which took place the 21 Juy in Ormea, Western Alps of Italy.
A group of 35 students from across the world affiliated with International agencies such as World Bank, FAO, conservation NGOs, universities and national agencies related to forests, appeared verry interested in cultural and spiritual dimensions of forests and mountains.
While the IPROMO program predominantly took a modern Western natural sciences perspective the 3-hour workshop was the only onediscussing the need to take values, beliefs and worldviews into consideration in both governance and management of mountain forests.
The first part introduced the general concepts and students were asked to summarise the impact of their most significant experience of connected with mountain forests, and discuss whether this experience had some influence in (I) choosing their professional career, and (ii) participating into the IPROMO course. During the second part the students worked in groups, by geographical regions, to apply the IUCN WCPA BPG to case studies of their choosing, and did short presentations afterwards showing how selected guidelines could help.
The workshop demonstrated the potential for application of the Best Practice Guidelines in training and education. Course participants indicated to have learned new perspectives and approaches to improve forest conservation effectiveness through the workshop.