Reflections on IUCN World Conservation Congress’ Nature-Culture Journey

At the September 2016 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i, IUCN and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites – the cultural heritage counterpart to IUCN) co-sponsored a Nature-Culture Journey.  This Journey and a companion World Heritage Journey featured over 50 related sessions that examined growing evidence that natural and cultural heritage are closely interconnected in many landscapes/seascapes and effective and lasting conservation of such places depends on better integration for planning and management.  These examples demonstrated that natural and cultural heritage experts face similar conservation challenges in places with complex interrelated ecological and cultural networksoften across large landscapes – and each brings a body of complementary knowledge and capacities. This Journey underscored that additional dialogue was critical to more fully identify and build on successful examples to advance good conservation practice. These diverse examples and dialogue produced a statement of commitments, Mālama Honua: to care for our island Earth that was signed by attendees at the closing reception for the Nature-Culture Journey.  This statement (currently being translated into French and Spanish) will soon be on-line and available for additional signatures. Follow up discussions are being planned for the 2017 ICOMOS General Assembly in Delhi, India.

Report submitted by Nora Mitchell, member of the Nature-Culture Journey IUCN-ICOMOS planning group.