Aims, Vision and Mission

Aims and objectives
The Aims and Objectives of SNSI are based on the SNSI organizational Mission and its Vision for the future of sacred natural sites (see below). All are currently under refinement.

The overall aim of the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative is:
“To assist the protection, conservation and revitalisation of sacred natural sites through the support to their guardians and communities.”

Within this overall aim the Initiative has developed 5 objectives:
1. To support the long-term protection, conservation and revitalisation of sacred natural sites and their biocultural significance.
2. To be a guardian guided initiative and to assist bringing their voices to wider audiences, promote dialogue and to play a bridging role with key decision makers.
3. To collaborate with partners in the nature conservation community and more widely to promote understanding, field-based action, policy development and enhanced resourcing towards the conservation of sacred natural sites;
4. To engage with stakeholders, sectoral interests (e.g. forestry, mining, tourism, etc.) and the wider public to promote awareness, and respectful relationships with guardians of sacred natural sites.
5. To work towards and where appropriate support networks of like-minded organisations and custodians active in the sacred natural sites conservation.

Guardian Mzee Ali Khamis Ali of the Pange Juu sacred forest of Vundwe Island of Zanzibar Tanzania is collaborating with local organisations and SNSI to protect and conserve the sacred groves of Zanzibar. (Source: R. Wild.)
Working mission and vision

The SNSI Vision for sacred natural sites in the future is operationalized through the SNSI Mission on which the above Aims and Objectives have been based.

Working Mission for SNSI as an organisation:
This Mission for SNSI as an organisation serves to enable the Vision for sacred natural sites.

1. Custodian-Guided: To realise an initiative on sacred natural sites advised by guardians.
2. Support: Support guardians and communities to preserve, protect, conserve and revitalise sacred natural sites,
3. Partnerships, networking and cross-cultural exchange: Work closely with partners and engage in strategic networking support and facilitate cross-cultural exchange that supports and strengthens SNS guardians.
4. Conservation: Engage the conservation community in recognition, protection, conservation and revitalisation of sacred natural sites and sensitise them to their cultural, spiritual and biological importance
5. Provide openings: Opening spaces at international and national level for guardians and their representatives to articulate and communicate their aspirations regarding their sacred natural sites in curbing the threats, pressures and impacts they perceive,
6. Influence policy: Influence national and international policies for the recognition of guardians rights and conservation of sacred naturals sites,
7. Facilitate dialogue: Enable and facilitate dialogue and cross-cultural exchange between guardians themselves, decision makers and other stakeholders (mining, forestry, tourism),
8. Generate resources: Generate resources and guidance (methods and approaches) that assist custodians and communities with the conservation of their sacred natural sites.

Working Vision for Sacred Natural Sites themselves:
The vision is of a future, which SNSI will work towards.

1. SNS Protected and respected: Sacred natural sites are well respected and protected at the local, national and international level with endorsing and enabling laws and policies;
ii. Conservation: Conservation community engaged and supportive;
iii. Development: Mainstreamed and respected within development processes. 2. SNS form networks: Sacred natural sites form nodes or points in social-ecological networks that are resilient, adaptive and well connected.
3. Healthy nature: Biodiversity is preserved, conserved, or when necessary, is recovered through restoration and preventive measures to secure their integrity. In this regard the conservation community is very supportive.
4. Custodian self-determination: Custodians make their own decisions, have the capacity and strength and are listened to and supported by other stakeholders.
5. Community well-being: Community well-being ensured related to sacred natural sites.
6. Cultural and spiritual continuity: The living religious and cultural heritage is preserved, conserved, or restored in line with the aspirations of the guardians and their communities.

Mutual respect: Different spiritual and faith, religious traditions respect each other at sacred natural sites.