Magazine article New Internationalist

Invest in Partnership

Magazine article New Internationalist

Invest in Partnership

Article excerpt

Put 'sustainable development 2002' into a web search engine and you'll be swamped by World Earth Summit-speak from Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this year. It's not very helpful. But that's not really surprising. Because the very qualities that bring people together with their environment - such as genuine commitments to protect both human rights and fragile eco-systems - were so notably absent from the Summit.

The Kipepeo project is about finding mutual value: value that has just as much to do with principles as profit. People are being valued through recognition that the forest can't be protected at the expense of local livelihoods. The forest is being valued as people discover how its habitat could work for rather than against them. Once valued in this way, people and their environment can work in harmony.

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There are many examples of these principles in operation.

High up in the mountains around Baltistan in Northern Pakistan there lives an endangered species of snow leopard. It shares its environment with the farmers of the village of Skoyo: farmers in the poorest region of one of the poorest countries in the world. Local livestock - an essential source of income for the village people - sporadically falls prey to the snow leopards. So, seeing the snow leopard as a risk to their livelihoods, the farmers kill them. That is, until a 1998 insurance scheme came into being between the farmers and a private eco-tourism company running snow-leopard trekking expeditions. Both the farmers and the eco-tourism company contribute to the fund, which compensates local farmers for any loss of local livestock. …

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