Raising awareness of protected mountain areas


The future of Indigenous and Community Conserved areas (ICCAs) was discussed by a variety of stakeholders including community members, NGOs, donor organizations and academics at the ICCA Consortium in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan from 29-31 October 2018. The Mountain Societies Research Institute of the University of Central Asia (MSRI/UCA) and the ICCA Consortium co-organized the regional meeting for envisioning the future of Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas in West and Central Asia. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness of ICCAs in the Kyrgyz Republic and in West and Central Asia by identifying emblematic ICCAs and how to enable them to ‘self-strengthen’, and build partnerships.

Participants were welcomed by Marc Foggin, the Acting Director of MSRI and honorary member of the ICCA Consortium, who conveyed his appreciation to the delegation of the Centre for Sustainable Development and Environment (CENESTA) from Iran. Highlighting the importance of ICCAs, Marc Foggin noted that around one quarter of the world’s land area is owned, used and managed by indigenous peoples, mostly outside of protected areas. Additionally, ICCAs are recognized as “protected areas” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In the context of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, ICCAs fall within the category of ‘Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures’ and are directly related to Target 15 (ecosystem resilience) and Target 16 (Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits).

“As an international association, the ICCA Consortium is dedicated to promoting the appropriate recognition of and support to Indigenous and Community Conserved territories and Areas, Territories of Life. The ICCA and its work have grown, both in members and geographically, and current structure needs to evolve through regional decentralization to give Members ownership over the Consortium’s work and ensure it is responsive to local and national needs and contexts”, said Ghanimat Azhdari, ICCA Consortium Council Member with special responsibility for Central and West Asia and the Caucasus.

Presentations introduced the ICCAs, the mission and activities of the ICCA Consortium, and shared experiences in advocacy for ICCAs in Iran. Workshops identified the main issues of relevance for ICCAs in West and Central Asia. Using a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, participants identified possible capacity building challenges and opportunities of emblematic ICCAs, options for enhancing legal and policy recognition of multiple values of ICCAs and for outreach and building partnerships with local communities in the region.

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See more photos from the ICCA Consortium

Photo credit: Alma Karsymbek, MSRI\UCA

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