For optimism to be unleashed, conservation must transform (Panel)

Starting from the positive case of the Ogiek from Mt Elgon, Kenya, where conservation success and community renewal has been a by-product of a community’s deep relation with place, the panel will also explore experiences from the Congo Basin and northern Australia, before moving onto a Q&A and panel discussion. In particular, this session will focus in on how a recovery of connection to place can be the basis for addressing the desperate nature of our eco-social situation.

There has been a huge shift in conservation policy towards rights-based approaches (however much practice may lag on the ground); likewise, there is an ongoing shift from the conventional notion of rights as held by virtue of being human, to recognise the centrality of rights that emerge from our depth of connection to place (UNDRIP). Can we move beyond framing our dilemma in terms of conventional rights and conservation, recognising that these siloed agendas are – in part – an artefact of hierarchical NGO separation from the reality on the ground?

This session focuses on the need for deeper holistic place-based connection vs the abstract (understandable but inadequate) agendas of rights and conservation. Fundamentally, how can we enable our own and fellow communities to have the security to think and act for the long term of future generations in the light of all the generations that have gone before?

The panellists speaking in this session are:

  • Peter Kitelo (Mt Elgon Ogiek, Kenya)
  • Beau Austin (Australia)
  • Samuel Nnah (Cameroon)
  • Justin Kenrick, Forest Peoples Programme (Scotland)