Nobody protects their environment as well as indigenous peoples. However, despite this being more and more recognised, there are still plenty of places where indigenous peoples serve as scapegoats. Instead of big business and governments, they are held responsible for the destruction of their environment, they are thrown off the lands they have sustainably managed for generations, forced into poverty and sometimes even beaten, tortured or shot – all in the name of conservation. But there is hope. While examples from Central Africa and South Asia show the spectacular failure of the concept of fortress conservation, rights-based approaches to conservation in Latin America score consistently better in terms of maintaining intact, functional ecosystems. It’s high time to rethink our approach to conservation.
- Saturday, 22 June 2019