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Governance for the conservation of nature 

The human impact on the planet is the result of innumerable conscious and unconscious decisions and actions that affect nature. In turn, these decisions and actions have to do with our own values and knowledge, and with our capacity to exercise power, authority and responsibility with direct relevance to nature. Governance for the conservation of nature is exactly about that: the decisions and actions that shape our interaction with nature and add meaning to our lives. It has to do with culture – our worldviews and values — but also with might – our capacity to carry out and enforce decisions.  It has to do with policy (stated intentions backed up by authority) but also with practice (the direct acts backed by technologies and means). In addition, it has to do with the complex web of conditions— understanding, communicating, negotiating, allocating power and resources—which create matches and mismatches between what is prescribed and intended and what is actually done.

Broadly understood as just noted, “governance” is a timeless phenomenon that humans experience in their interaction with nature. Today, in the era of  Anthropocene, the phenomenon is reaching extreme proportions and consequences, with humans altering the conditions of the entire planet.  It has thus become crucial to understand governance and figure out how to enhance its potential for harmonious and wise interaction with nature— an interaction that can spells the conditions of our collective wellbeing but also of disasters and tragedies. This page is dedicated to the results of some important attempts that the Consortium members have devoted to this crucial task. 

TICTU supported eco-occupation

“The heart of a Stream”

Together with GIZ (the German International Development Agency), UNDP GEF SGP, the IUCN Global Protected Area Programme and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the ICCA Consortium co-organised a main a main Stream of events at the World Parks Congress Sydney, 2014.  It was the Stream on Enhancing Diversity, Quality and Vitality of Governance—an endeavour that took years to prepare and pulled together the experience, knowledge, energy, engagement and creativity of several hundred people. The Stream produced an impressive set of conclusions and recommendations that spell out A strategy of innovative approaches and recommendations to enhance the diversity, quality and vitality of governance in the next decade. The strategy is embedded in the full Proceedings of the Stream, now also available.

Three short movies are also now available to take you on a journey of exploration of the complex, sensitive and sometimes confusing and disturbing phenomenon called “governance of protected and conserved areas”.  What do we know about it?  Why do we describe it in terms of diversity, quality and vitality?  Why is it so important for the conservation of nature?  What actually happened in Australia, during the Stream and in the pre-and post-Stream events that dealt with governance issues?  Finally, and with the benefit of some water under the bridge, what did all this work amount to?  What recommendations from the Governance Stream are still alive today and being pursued in practice? You will find all of this, and more, in the films below.  


Part I – Governance for the conservation of nature

In this first short movie you learn about governance for the conservation of nature and the different governance types that spell out “governance diversity” in the landscape/ seascape. Governance by government, shared governance, private governance, and governance by indigenous peoples and local communities are briefly described and commented upon, in particular regarding voluntary conservation efforts and governance of the commons. You also hear about “governance quality” (good governance) in a variety of ecosystems, and are offered an introduction to the recently developed parameter of “governance vitality”.   All this is recounted and discussed by people from various continents who are active, today, to make sense of governance in their daily practice in protected and conserved areas or who carry out conservation work by influencing culture, politics, the economy, legislation and policy. 


Part II – A stream on governance at the Sydney Parks Congress 2014

This second short movie takes you to the heart of the Stream on Enhancing Diversity, Quality and Vitality of Governance of the World Parks Congress, Sydney 2014. You make a first stop in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, where a pre-Stream gathering of over three hundred people from five continents discussed issues of “communities conserving nature and culture” and consolidated a number of contributions to the Congress. The second stop introduces you to the “governance ambassadors” in Sydney and – through their work – to the numerous events that took place during the Stream itself and to the Stream conclusions, strongly echoed in the Promise of Sydney— the key summary outcome of the Congress.  The last stop of the journey is in Jervis Bay, South of Sydney, where several “governance ambassadors” and colleagues endeavoured to refine the Stream’s recommendations and set the foundations for taking action on them.

Part III – Enhancing governance of protected and conserved areas: an agenda for action

The third short movie illustrates the actual results of the Stream.  The agenda for action developed by the Stream participants comprises three directions of work and twenty recommendations. You hear about them all through the voices of people active in their roles and professions: top conservation professionals, indigenous peoples, conservation practitioners, lawyers and environmental and human rights activists.  The recommendations were and continue to be a source of powerful ideas and commitment for many of the people who attended the Governance Stream.  You learn what can be done, and why, to take action on governance for the conservation of nature.  And you find out where you can link with other people with whom to collaborate. 


Understanding and action

Find here the Proceedings of the Stream 6 Enhancing the diversity, quality and vitality of governance of protected (and conserved) areas at the World Parks Congress, Sydney, 2014. unnamed Find here the chapter on “Governance for the Conservation of Nature” from the volume Protected Area Governance and Management of 2015 coverpage
Find here the Primer on Governance for Protected and Conserved Areas, in three languages   cover-En   cover-sp Cover-fr
Find here the IUCN WCPA Guidelines no 20: Governance of Protected Areas—from Understanding to Action, in three languages Cover_Guidelines_040913 COVER-iucn_spanish_governance_book COVER-iucn_french_governance_book_final_1
Sharing Power Learning by doing in Co-Management of Natural Resources throughout the World sharing_power Partager le pouvoir – Cogestion des ressources naturelles et gouvernance partagĂ©e de par le monde partager-le-pouvoir
CEESP Briefing Note 8 Governance for Effective and Equitable Protected Areas Systems – Implementing the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas BN8    


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