Creating Partnerships Between Governmental Authorities and Indigenous peoples: a New Strategy for Biodiversity Conservation
Securing the interactions between plants, animals, microorganisms and the physical environment forms the foundation of sustainable development (Global Biodiversity Strategy, World Resources Institute, 1992). Facing the ongoing depletion of the natural resources, new strategies to ensure biodiversity conservation were developed. The establishment of protected areas by governmental authorities rarely led to successful results, in terms of environmental protection and social justice (Alcorn, 1993). A shift of thinking in the 1970s allowed the conservationists to see the indigenous peoples no longer as barrier to biodiversity conservation but as the holders of complex and historical knowledge of the natural environment. Consequently, partnerships were developed between governments and indigenous communities within the protected areas. This study investigates the results of the creation of partnership, whether it is a good means to achieve biodiversity conservation or not, and under which conditions it can be successful. It also aims to find the perceived benefits and potential limitation of cooperation. Through the analysis of two case studies: the World Heritage site in Laponia, Sweden and the Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park in Bolivia, the study finds that partnership for biodiversity conservation is utterly related to social and political claims: because a successful partnership cannot be imposed from above, a process towards indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination must be initiated.
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