Banner image: Gongcheol Jeong (1960-2013, Republic of (South) Korea), was a Jeju shaman also called Shimbang. He participated in the cultural movement through theatrical activities and lived as a shaman who holds real guts (ceremony) for connecting people to sacred landscapes. (Photo: Bas Verschuuren 2012)
The aim of the work presented under the project is improving recognition and conservation of sacred natural sites in Asia. This is a collaborative effort between the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative, the Biodiversity Network Japan and the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas-Japan.
Because sacred natural sites are key features in Asian landscapes they can be though of as having supported an indigenous Asian philosophy of conservation around community-based protected areas and natural resource conservation.
Therefore the project aims to develop the understanding, recognition and capacity to support sacred natural sites by protected area managers and conservation practitioners in the form of an informal network of experts and practitioners that includes protected area managers and conservation practitioners.
The network in a way is also an offshoot of the popular ‘IUCN UNESCO Sacred Natural Sites, Guidelines for Protected Area managers’ that had been translated into Korean and Japanese. Realizing that improved conservation tools would be required to help unpack the full potential of sacred natural sites within the context of nature conservation the network is now focusing on producing a series of Asia specific case studies.
Whilst focusing on the translation and application of the IUCN UNESCO Guidelines, most case studies express a broader need to share lessons learned with the wider protected areas community. Have a look here to browse case studies form Asia (set the filter on top of the page to ‘Asia’) and compare them with those in other regions . The World Parks Congress to be held in November 2014 in Sidney Australia will therefore be an important happening for exchange, presentation and further inspiration for participants in the project on Asian sacred natural sites.
Have a look at the project page, stay tuned for updates and feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org in case you would like to be included on the network email list serve or in case you have other thoughts to share with us.