IUCN UNESCO Best Practice Guidelines No. 16:
Sacred Natural Sites: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers

Supported by: The Christensen Fund, The World Wide Fund for Nature
Hosted by: LTSI, The Sacred Land Film Project, Sacred Natural Sites Initiatve
Contact: CSVPA Co-chair; Bas Verschuuren: basverschuuren@gmail.com
Support: The project is open to interested parties interested in reviewing, field testing or translating the guidelines, read the brochure.

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These guidelines  primarily assist protected area managers, especially those with sacred sites located within the boundaries of their legally established protected areas. However they are useful to a wider audience. Learn more →

It would be inappropriate for IUCN or UNESCO (or any other organisations intervening from outside) to provide management advice regarding sacred sites without the permission and advice from the appropriate custodians. It is hoped that the guidelines will promote cooperation between protected area managers and custodians of sacred sites towards the enhanced conservation of these special places.

In their current form, the guidelines are relatively detailed and prescriptive. The 44 guidance points are grouped into six principles. In terms of flow, they generally develop from the specific and local to the more general and national level. The guidelines contain 16 case studies. The guidelines are available in English, Spanish, Estonian, Japanese, Korean and Russian. Volunteers are using the guidelines in protected areas and others currently translate the core  guidelines into many more languages. Read about how you can contribute to the translations.

The Guidelines have been developed by the IUCN Specialist group on Cultural and spiritual Values of Protected Areas and edited by Robert Wild and Christopher McLeod under the Auspices of IUCN and UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme. The Guidelines are Number 16 of the Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series produced by IUCN’s World Commission on protected Areas which is edited by. Prof. Peter Valentine.

For more information about field testing the guidelines, download the brochuretake the survey, read this website and the following article: “Applicability of the IUCN-UNESCO Guidelines for Protected Area managers on Sacred natural Sites: first assessment”, in the proceedings of the third workshop of The Delos Initiative pp.260-270.