Importance of the role of local communities in the conservation of natural resources

Photo: (Yucatàn a la mano)

Quintana Roo, (September 07, 2021).- 2030 is the year established by the UN to stop major global problems such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, erosion, and desertification, human migration, famine, etc. Time goes fast, and we are only 9 years away. 

In this context, we will have the Food Systems Summit (CFS) on September 23. The Conference of the Parties (COP) will meet from September 30 to October 2 in Milan, to prepare scenarios of agreements that will be discussed from November 1-12 in Glasgow regarding climate change – in Cancun, we had in 2016, the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), and it will have its international edition on October 11-15, but previously it has carried out intense work at the international level. All of these events are sponsored by the UN.

The previous examples, surely there are more, show that worldwide the corresponding authorities are moving to reach the agreements that lead to achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals. The idea is to stop and reverse the growth curve of global problems. 

CSA, COP, and CBD have tried to involve these invisible actors, with different results: Indigenous peoples and local communities. Resistance and skepticism for greater participation of Indigenous Peoples in solving global problems that stem from the false perception that neither the knowledge created by them nor their participation is relevant or has no scientific basis. Could not be farther from the truth.

The prestigious journal Ecology and Society published on September 2 an article in which 17 scientists from different parts of the world and ecosystems participated, led by Neil Dawson from the University of East Anglia, England (https://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol26/ iss3 / art19 /). Based on the analysis of 3,100 scientific articles published between 1945 and 2019, and with the support of specialized software, 169 were selected for the fine analysis. 

The discussion about conserving natural resources usually centers on the amount of area to be protected and the list of species. We see it in all cases of protected areas not only in Quintana Roo but throughout the country. It is assumed with some certainty that the size of the area is important; the more protected area, the greater the positive impact on reducing global warming, the loss of biodiversity, etc. This premise often overshadows another factor of equal or greater importance, the governance of the protected area and the cultural factors involved; that is, who and how the conservation area should be protected.

The research by Dawson et al. Shows that those protected areas where local actors have greater decision-making capacity, applying their own knowledge and cultural principles, achieve better levels of conservation in the longer-term than those areas where governance depends on external actors, many times alien to the local culture.

In other words, the voice of indigenous and local communities should be listened to with much greater attention by governments. There is no better alternative to address major global problems than to encourage greater participation by local communities in the conservation of their natural resources; scientifically proven.

Source: La Jornada Maya

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