By: The Global Diversity Foundation, member of the ICCA Consortium and co-coordinator of COMBIOSERVE
The COMBIOSERVE consortium is concluding a 3-year project assessing the effectiveness of community-based management strategies for biocultural diversity, using case studies from three sites in Latin America. One of the principal goals of the Consortium is to recognise the importance of community-based conservation, and support communities as they enhance it. As part of this process, the Consortium organised an international conference Community Conservation in Latin America: Innovations in Research and Practice in the Mexican town of Xico, in the state of Veracruz, from 6-9 November 2014.
Eight academic panels delivered a combination of theoretical and experiential knowledge on biocultural conservation, including local processes and initiatives to provide insight into current innovations, to the 160 participants comprising indigenous and community experts, academics and practitioners who were in attendance. This was followed by two highly interactive dialogue sessions – moderated and led by community experts – providing platforms to discuss the use of specific tools in advocacy and research and to gauge feedback on experiences in collaborative research and dissemination of research results. Underlining the consortium’s focus on the practice of community-based conservation, the conference held 4 parallel methods workshops in which consortium partners shared innovative and participatory approaches to assess the effectiveness of community-based management, exploring their implementation with conference attendees.
The conference was a resounding success, and those present were heartened by the massive presence and powerful participation of so many community-based experts. The Proceedings from the conference are currently under peer review, and will be made available through open-access publication in late 2015. ICCA Consortium members Global Diversity Foundation (UK) and the Consejo Regional Indígena y Popular Xpujil (Mexico) are COMBIOSERVE consortium partners; Global Diversity Foundation was one of the organisers of the conference, and both contributed substantially to conference-related events.