Even when the IUCN Congress closes, the debate on conservation heats up global issues

Protest against the 30X30 Conservation Plan at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, Marseille, France. Author: Survival International
  • by Manipadma Jena (Marseille, France)
  • Inter Press Service

This so-called 30X30 debate is expected to escalate at the UN Biodiversity Conference in China next April. Indigenous groups say that conservation must recognize its rights to land, territories, coastal seas and natural resources. Some activists claim that “fortress conservation” was nothing more than colonialism in another form.

The world’s failure to achieve any of the global goals of protecting, conserving and restoring nature by 2020 has been sober. In Kunming, China, 190 governments will gather in April 2022 following a virtual format in October this year to complete The UN’s global framework for biodiversity after 2020.

The draft framework, released in July, aims to create a ‘world living in harmony with nature’ in 2050 by protecting at least 30 percent of the planet and placing at least 20 percent under restoration by 2030.

Marseille Manifesto, the statement from the World Conservation Congress in Marseille from 4 to 10 September 2021 provides greater visibility for indigenous peoples by “engaging in an ambitious, interconnected and efficient, site-based conservation network representing all key areas of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Such a network must recognize the roles and guardianship of indigenous peoples and communities. ”

“Congress urges governments to set ambitious protected areas and other area-based conservation targets by demanding that at least 30% of the planet be protected by 2030. The targets must be based on the latest science and include rights – including Free Prior Informed Consent – according to the UN: s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The IUCN must strengthen the strength of indigenous peoples and communities, the manifesto further urges.

The IUCN’s membership is currently 1,500 and includes 91 states, 212 government agencies, 1,213 non-governmental organizations, 23 indigenous peoples and 52 affiliated members.

Indigenous peoples (IP) demand first and foremost “the secure recognition and respect for collective domestic rights and the governance of land, territories, waters, coastal seas and natural resources”.

Great demand for this came from IUCN indigenous peoples ‘organizations that stretched across six continents that merged, developed’global domestic agenda‘and was presented at its own summit — the first event of its kind at any IUCN World Conservation Congress.

They aimed to unite the voices of indigenous peoples from around the world to raise awareness of the need for “enhanced measures” to protect indigenous peoples’ rights and their roles as nature stewards.

Other activists are taking a tougher stance.

“The 30×30 plan is nothing more than a massive ground grab”, Sophie Grig, senior research and legal officer Survival International told IPS by telephone from the non-profit head office in London.

“It’s nothing more than a sound bite, green lies. History has shown that promises have been made, but gradually it becomes impossible for forest dwellers to live until they have finally been driven from their generational homes for centuries. They are thrown for what? For animals and tourists. We see no real signs that this will change. ”

Survival International and other activist organizations organized “Our country Our natureThe Congress one day before the IUCN Congress began. They demanded that conservation be decolonized.

“The preservation of the fortress violates human rights and does not protect nature. The devastating effects of the preservation of fortresses on indigenous peoples, communities, farmers, rural women and rural youth have generated limited benefits for nature, said David R Boyd, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, in a political summary in August just before the IUCN. Congress.

Ending the current crisis for biodiversity will require a “transformative strategy” for what conservation entails, who qualifies as a conservationist and how conservation efforts are designed and implemented, Boyd continues.

Studies have shown that indigenous peoples, who make up only 5% of the world’s population, contribute significantly to its environmental diversity as more than 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found within their countries.

The debate on the issue became global. In a forum online coincident but separate from the IUCN Indigenous Summit, indigenous women, many from Southeast Asia, stressed that “it is not enough for outsiders to simply observe indigenous practices and then try to reuse them in other contexts.”

Native voices must be at the “center of the conversation, not left to the margins.”

Traditional ecological knowledge is not just a theoretical concept. It is an “indigenous science”, an application of knowledge collected by indigenous peoples for thousands of years that is most effective in tackling climate change and biodiversity challenges because it is based on the acceptance that “all living organisms are interdependent”, they said. .

The Marseille Indigenous Agenda also calls on the global community – from states to the private sector, NGO conservation communities, conservation funding and academia – to engage in specific joint efforts with them, such as “co-designing initiatives and collaborating on investment opportunities. ”

“Our global goals of protecting the earth and conserving biodiversity cannot succeed without the guidance, support and partnerships of indigenous peoples,” said Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director-General at the beginning of the congress.

“So will the investment in this doubling of conservation areas, or at least some of the money, go directly to the indigenous people?” asked protesters at the Congress for the decolonization of conservation.

“Unlikely,” says Survival’s Grig, “the Fortress Conservation is the racist and colonial model of conservation promoted by governments, corporations, and major conservation organizations.”

The 30X30 plan sounds like a simple and painless process, but it is not so for domestic communities. It is simply a plan that allows you in the global north to continue to burn fossil fuels and consume unsustainably, ”added Grig.

The indigenous people were clear in their demands. Their agenda and action plan demand: “As indigenous peoples around the world, we demand a fair environment for the recognition of indigenous peoples in order to thrive as leaders, innovators and important contributors to nature conservation.”

It remains to be seen to what extent words and promises from international politics and funding bodies will lead to action on this controversial and critical issue in 2022.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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