The Earth Summit of 1992 gave a prominent place to indigenous and traditional peoples, and Article 22 of
the Rio Declaration explicitly notes that "Indigenous peoples and their communities and other local communities have a vital
role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices. States should recognize
and duly support their identity, culture and interests and enable their effective participation in the achievement of sustainable
development." The Convention on Biological Diversity which was also finalized at the Earth Summit makes provisions relevant
to indigenous peoples. More recently, in 1996 the World Wide Fund for Nature International adopted a Statement of Principles
on Indigenous Peoples and Conservation, and in the same year the World Conservation Union (IUCN) adopted seven different resolutions
on indigenous peoples.
At the end of this meeting, the following declaration
was agreed, now known as the Dana Declaration:
The world faces unprecedented threats to the conservation and sustainable
use of its biodiversity. . . .
The linked pressures of human population dynamics, unsustainable consumption patterns,
climate change and global and national economic forces threaten both the conservation of biological resources and the livelihoods
of many indigenous and traditional peoples. . . .
Mobile peoples are discriminated against. Their rights, including
rights of access to natural resources, are often denied and conventional conservation practices insufficiently address their
concerns. These factors, together with the pace of global change, undermine their lifestyles, reduce their ability to live
in balance with nature and threaten their very existence as distinct peoples.
Nonetheless, through their traditional
resource use practices and culture-based respect for nature, many mobile peoples are still making a significant contribution
to the maintenance of the earth's ecosystems, species and genetic diversity--even though this often goes unrecognized. Thus
the interests of mobile peoples and conservation converge, especially as they face a number of common challenges. There is
therefore an urgent need to create a mutually reinforcing partnership between mobile peoples and those involved with conservation.
participants at the Wadi Dana conference committed themselves to promoting conservation practices which consider the rights
and capacities of mobile peoples based on a set of clearly defined principles.
The Dana Declaration serves to
remind us that protecting the full cultural diversity of humanity, the settled and the mobile, is also part of the broader
biodiversity that we all seek to preserve. In September, it was endorsed by representatives of mobile indigenous peoples at
the World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa.
Look to the above Website for a detailed research report on Pastoralism in the new millennium. Prepared by FAO Food Agricultural