Academic journal article Nomadic Peoples

Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples and Conservation

Academic journal article Nomadic Peoples

Dana Declaration on Mobile Peoples and Conservation

Article excerpt

A group of concerned professionals including social and natural scientists from all regions of the world met in Wadi Dana Nature Reserve, Jordan, April 2002, to consider a comprehensive approach to mobile peoples (1) and conservation. At the end of this meeting, they agreed the following declaration:

The world faces unprecedented threats to the conservation and sustainable use of its biodiversity. At the same time, its cultural and linguistic diversity, which includes an immeasurable and irreplaceable range of knowledge and skills, is being lost at an alarming rate.

The linked pressures of human population dynamics, unsustainable consumption patterns, climate change and global and national economic forces threaten both the conservation of biological resources and the livelihoods of many indigenous and traditional peoples. In particular, mobile peoples now find themselves constrained by forces beyond their control, which put them at a special disadvantage.

Mobile peoples are discriminated against. Their rights, including rights of access to natural resources, are often denied and conventional conservation practices insufficiently address their concerns. These factors, together with the pace of global change, undermine their lifestyles, reduce their ability to live in balance with nature and threaten their very existence as distinct peoples.

Nonetheless, through their traditional resource use practices and culture-based respect for nature, many mobile peoples are still making a significant contribution to the maintenance of the earth's ecosystems, species and genetic diversity--even though this often goes unrecognised. Thus the interests of mobile peoples and conservation converge, especially as they face a number of common challenges. There is therefore an urgent need to create a mutually reinforcing partnership between mobile peoples and those involved with conservation.

In the light of this understanding, we commit ourselves to promoting conservation practices based on the following principles:

Principle 1. Rights and Empowerment

Conservation approaches with potential impact on mobile peoples and their natural resources must recognise mobile peoples' rights, management responsibilities and capacities, and should lead to effective empowerment. These rights include:

1.1 Human rights: civil, political, social, economic and cultural.

1.2 Land and resource rights, including those under customary law.

1.3 Cultural and intellectual property rights.

1.4 The right to full participation in decision-making and relevant negotiation processes at different levels.

1.5 The right to derive equitable benefits from any consumptive or nonconsumptive use of local natural resources.

To this end, appropriate legislative reforms should be promoted as needed, at national and international levels. In addition, because mobile peoples often move through different territories, transboundary co-operation between national authorities may be required.

Recognition of mobile peoples' rights should lead to effective empowerment, and include consideration of gender and age.

Principle 2. Trust and Respect

Beneficial partnerships between conservation interests and mobile peoples should be based upon mutual trust and respect and address the issue of discrimination against mobile peoples. To this end partnerships should:

2.1 Be equitable.

2.2 Fully respect and acknowledge mobile peoples' institutions.

2.3 Balance the exercise of rights by all parties with the fulfilment of responsibilities.

2.4 Recognise and incorporate relevant customary law.

2.5 Promote the accountability of all parties in relation to the fulfilment of conservation objectives and the needs of mobile peoples.

Principle 3. Different Knowledge Systems

In planning and implementing conservation of biodiversity with mobile peoples, there is a need to respect and incorporate their traditional knowledge and management practices. …

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