Indigenous people and local communities are involved in nature conservation, effective governance and resource management in their territories

Session 3: Community-conserved areas in the future management of biodiversity, land and water in the Mediterranean

Indigenous people and local communities are involved in nature conservation, effective governance and resource management in their territories. These territories are referred as Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas (ICCA and are key to local livelihoods and landscape-level bio-cultural conservation practices.

In the Mediterranean, ICCAs include agdals and himas, which are socially-, spiritually- and culturally-embedded traditional management systems that permit the conservation of pasturelands and other bio-cultural landscapes prevalent in rural areas throughout the Maghreb and Middle East. Pastoralism and transhumance are also widespread practices in the Mediterranean that link traditional livelihoods to extensive landscapes. Traditional knowledge inherent to these management practices should play a significant role in informing mainstream conservation actions. These concepts and practices will be explored in session 3.

ICCAs in the Mediterranean are still poorly understood and scientific research on their structure, role, potential and current challenges has barely begun. This may be due to a paucity of knowledge and information, coupled with a lack of political support. Also, there has been little effective integration of these practices in conservation planning and actions to date. This session will explore the challenges and opportunities for this integration.

After an introduction to ICCAs by Gary Martin (Global Diversity Foundation, ICCA Consortium), Concha Salguero (Iniciativa Comunales, ICCA Consortium and Mediterranean Consortium on Nature and Culture) will present the role of ICCAs for conservation in Europe and the Mediterranean, stressing their key role in halting the degradation of landscapes and biodiversity. Participatory activities, including  reviews of challenging case studies, will provide a space for discussion across disciplines.

The session will conclude with a collective brainstorming session using the World Café technique. This will result in a first outline of a regional roadmap for the integration of cultural practices of conservation and ICCAs into mainstream conservation policies in the Mediterranean. By the end of session 3, we hope to have a fruitful dialogue between biodiversity and cultural conservation professionals that will feed into future plant conservation projects in the Mediterranean.

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