Top delegates of the 2012 World Conservation Congress pose after signing the Jeju Declaration during the closing ceremony on the 10th day of the environmental conference in Jeju Island.
Starting from the left, they are Governor of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province Woo Keun-min, the Minister of Environment Yoo Young-sook, the Chairman of the organizing committee Lee Hong-koo, and the president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Ashok Khosla.
95% of the participating delegates at the 5th IUCN World Conservation Congress, Jeju, voted for SPNL’s motion to promote and support community resource management and conservation as a foundation for sustainable development.
The delegates at the 2012 World Conservation Congress (WCC), at Jeju Island adopted a declaration, to promote Korea’s green growth policy as a solution for sustainable development.
More than 10,000 participants of the United Nations, government agencies, nongovernmental organizations and companies from over 170 countries came up with the Jeju Declaration that summarized the discussions in the 10-day environmental conference organized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which in turn featured the program for the first time in this 23rd WCC.
Motion 122, Promoting and supporting community resource management and conservation as a foundation for sustainable development, presented by Ministry of Environment- Austria and SPNL- Lebanon and co-sponsored by several ngo’s, was adopted with +95% of positive votes.
The new resolution # 122 will facilitate and enhance a broad exchange of information on current community resource management programs and systems. in addition to, their levels of success, or reasons for failure to take place among practitioners, relevant interest groups and international conservation and development organizations. The emphasis should be placed on capacity building to contribute to the further development of community resource management programs.
The new resolution focuses on the importance of developing and implementing broad policy coherence amongst Multilateral Environmental Agreements and conservation organizations which would be beneficial for the conservation of terrestrial biodiversity through community resource management programs.
The resolution also recognizes the various forms and names of Community Conservation, such as Al Hima (ﺍﻟﺣﻣﻰ), Mahjar, Agdal, Qoroq, Adat or any similar systems of community-based management present in West Asia and North Africa, as a holistic approach that empowers local and traditional knowledge, culture and heritage, including the conservation of natural resources and a boost to livelihoods.
BirdLife International in the Middle East, led by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Lebanon (SPNL, BirdLife Partner), is now reviving the hima approach in the region. The goal is to integrate these wise traditional practices with recent conservation science in order to achieve sustainable development.
Thereby, respecting the rights of local communities and promoting equity and responsibility for the environment; the revival of the hima approach, represents BirdLife’s new Local Empowerment Programme.
At the time when economic difficulties were dominating international debates with relatively less interest towards the protection of nature, the quadrennial meeting that took place on the resort island, exclusively focused on promoting and supporting community resource management and conservation as a foundation for sustainable development. Moreover, the declaration proposes the preservation of biodiversity and economical development through the sustainable development.
“Biodiversity should be seen not as a problem but as an opportunity to help achieve broader societal goals”. As stated in the declaration,“We must work with the public and private sectors to enhance the transfer of green technology, share knowledge, experience and skills to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem values into global production and consumption. We encourage governments and businesses to pursue inclusive and gender-responsive green growth that ensures social integration of vulnerable groups, helps eradicate poverty, and keeps humanity’s footprint within ecological boundaries.”
The declaration includes discussions between the World Leaders’ Dialogue, international environmental leaders, and members of the audience. In addition, further similar programs on regular basis will be initiated. The forum also known as the Jeju World Leaders’ Conservation Forum, will focus on nature-based solutions to promote sustainable development.
In Korea’s first WCC, the country managed to draw some local environmental issues to the attention of the international community. The IUCN approved a motion on the preservation of the female divers’ culture and community in the Jeju Island. The divers who live upon collecting shellfish show the unique matriarchal family structure of the island. The IUCN also mentioned that through such activities, a contribution to the economic development and the protection of the ecosystem was achieved.
The Jeju Declaration will serve as the basis for the discussions of the environmental issues at the IUCN meetings, which will be led for the next four years by Zhang Xinsheng from China, whom in turn was elected for the new IUCN presidency.