IUCN WCPA Best Practice Guidelines on the Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature in the Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas

12-10-2016

Cultural and spiritual bonds with nature are among the strongest personal drives and motivators for nature conservation yet they are not often taken into account in the governance and management of protected areas. From 4 to 7 July 2016, a group of internationally recognized conservation and heritage experts discussed how the cultural and spiritual significance of nature should be integrated and strengthened in protected areas and World Heritage sites across the world. Their aim: developing Best Practice Guidelines for those working in the governance and management of protected and conserved areas.

The guidelines will be part of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) world leading series of Best Practice Guidelines.The participants of the CSVPA-BfN workshop on Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature in the Governance and Management of Protected and Conserved Areas at the International Nature Conservation Academy on Vilm Island, Germany. Photo: Andrea Strauss. Led by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Specialist Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) the first steps towards the IUCN Best Practice Guidelines were made, their scope, aim and structure were explored, case studies are now being collected and a roadmap for their further development is being drawn up.
Key recommendations of the workshop include:
  1. All stakeholders should recognise that the diversity of experiences, values and beliefs on the cultural and spiritual significance of nature can support reaching better nature conservation outcomes.
  2. Local outlooks and expertise on the cultural and spiritual significance of nature needs stronger recognition and respect of all stakeholders involved, from local to the international level.
  3. Integrated holistic approaches to nature and culture should serve the integration of cultural and spiritual significance of nature in the governance and management of protected and conserved areas.
The workshop took place at the International Academy for Nature Conservation Isle of Vilm, Germany, and was organised in collaboration with the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation.

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