About Us

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) is a global network of experts including conservation professionals, heritage practitioners, policy makers, academics, government representatives, community members, custodians, and representatives of religious organisations.

We are concerned with those cultural and spiritual values that support, foster and respect nature and the variety of cultures that the Earth sustains. As a Specialist Group of the World Commission of Protected Areas (WCPA), we have a sharp focus on protected areas. However, protected areas are cultural creations that interact with wider human culture, as well as being set against a background of nature and the sacred dimension of nature as a whole. This is our current work plan →

What We Do

CSVPA advises the IUCN World Commission of Protected Areas on the appropriate recognition, conservation and promotion of the cultural and spiritual significance of protected areas in their policy, planning, management and evaluation. CSVPA is also active in promoting cultural and spiritual values in nature conservation beyond protected areas and develops and supports projects and programmes that are in accordance with its mission.

Our History

The IUCN WCPA Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas was established in 1998 as the Task Force on Non Material Values of Protected Areas and changed name to Task Force on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas in 2003 during the World Park Congress held in Durban, South Africa. CSVPA changed status from a Task Force (four-year mandate) to Specialist Group (permanent mandate) in 2009.

Mission Statement

The mission of the CSVPA is to promote the appropriate recognition and inclusion of all relevant cultural and spiritual values, knowledge, and meanings into nature conservation theory and practice, and in particular, into protected areas policies, planning, management, and evaluation.