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Conservation cannot be achieved without the support of local people. But the challenges people face, especially the poor in developing countries, often makes it difficult for them to support conservation ideas and actions.
Our pilot project in two national parks in Uganda shows that recognising the values that connect people to nature helps engage people in its conservation.
Nature and natural resources provide important economic benefits, but also create powerful links between people and place. Building the values that connect people and nature into conservation initiatives will create stronger local interest and support for our work on the ground.
Reinvigorating the values that connect people to nature also reduces the risk that whole cultures and their values will decline and eventually be lost.
Understanding the cultural drivers of behaviour will help Fauna & Flora International (FFI) to reconnect people with the natural world and their own values in nature.
FFI envisages a world where biodiversity is conserved by the people who live closest to it. Local cultures and customs are key to securing social well-being and livelihoods as well as sustainable conservation. This is why we plan to integrate intangible cultural, spiritual and ethical values into our programmes.
The Cultural Values Programme supports FFI’s regional and thematic teams by training and mentoring to build awareness, understanding and capacity in cultural values approaches.
We are working to develop policies and best practice and prepare guidelines and tools. We will help build a network of practitioners and champions, and will share lessons learned with institutions such as the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas Specialist Group of IUCN.