The Specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) is at the basis of developing the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative. CSVPA is part of the World Commission on Protected Areas, one of the six IUCN Commissions. CSVPA seeks to identify, define, and provide guidelines for managing the cultural and spiritual dimensions of protected areas. Founded in 1998 CSVPA has been a pioneer in sensitising the conservation community to the importance of cultural and spiritual values and especially sacred natural sites. CSVPA has produced the IUCN UNESCO Guidelines as well as a book on sacred natural sites and is instrumental in shaping the Sacred Natural Sites Initiative. Visit Website »
The World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is the world's premier network of protected area expertise. It is administered by IUCN's Programme on Protected Areas and has over 1,400 members, spanning 140 countries. WCPA works by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors; by providing strategic advice to policy makers; by strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and by convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues. For more than 50 years, IUCN and WCPA have been at the forefront of global action on protected areas. Visit Website »
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental network - a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists in more than 160 countries. IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice. Visit Website »
The Christensen Fund
The Christensen Fund is a private nonprofit, nongovernmental organization foundation founded in 1957 and based in San Francisco, California. Since 2003, the focus of our work has been on backing the stewards of biocultural diversity. The Christensen Fund supports the efforts of Indigenous organizations and their partners to explore, document, and affirm the role and function of sacred sites in the maintenance of biocultural landscapes. We fund studies of the traditional custodianship of sacred sites; encourage the revival of Indigenous practices and rituals; support capacity-building and education for custodians; and work to raise the profile of sacred sites through publications, artistic expression, legal representation, and the development of practical toolkits, manuals and guidelines. Visit Website »
The Sacred Land Film Project
The Sacred Land Film Project uses journalism, organizing and activism to rekindle reverence for land, stimulate dialogue about connections between nature and culture, and protect sacred lands and diverse spiritual practices. Earth Island Institute’s TSLFP produces a variety of media and educational materials to deepen public understanding of sacred places, indigenous cultures and environmental justice. For the last decade we have focused on the production and distribution of the documentary film, In the Light of Reverence. We are currently developing a four-part series on sacred places around the world, entitled Losing Sacred Ground. Visit Website »
The Gaia Foundation
The Gaia Foundation works with individuals, organisations and networks in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe to regenerate healthy ecosystems, enhance traditional knowledge and practices for land, seed, food and water sovereignty, and to strengthen community self-governance. Gaia has been working with partners around the world to support local and indigenous communities to strengthen their traditional knowledge, practices and systems of governance in order to protect their Sacred Sites and territories. Together, we are developing legal strategies to reinforce the protection of these vital sanctuaries. This is important not only for the local communities but also for the rehabilitation of the planet’s ecosystems. Visit Website »
The Delos Initiative
The Delos Initiative focuses on the sacred natural sites in developed countries throughout the world. Its main purpose is to help maintain the sanctity and the biodiversity of sacred natural sites, through improving our understanding of the complex relationships between spiritual, cultural and natural values. Within the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Specialist Group on the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas (CSVPA) Delos seeks to investigate the interface between humanity and nature, promote the integrated management of the natural and cultural heritage and to harmonise cultural and spiritual aspirations with the conservation of nature. Visit Website »
COMPAS is an international capacity building programme comparing and developing Endogenous Development and Biocultural Diversity. Endogenous development revitalises ancestral and local knowledge and integrates external knowledge and resources that fit the local context. It leads to increased bio-cultural diversity, reduced environmental degradation, and a self-sustaining local and regional exchange of goods and services. Field programmes serve to develop evidence of the outcomes and impact. Mainstreaming takes place by including endogenous development in programmes funded through various donor agencies, establishing policy dialogues and developing university curricula. Visit Website »
EarthCollective is a creative think-tank and action network catalysing, enabling and facilitating initiatives which raise awareness and understanding of the vital links connecting healthy natural environments and human well-being. EarthCollective integrates science, business and broader society to seed fresh ideas, grow dynamic partnerships and harvest shared experience for resilient outcomes oriented toward social and ecological sustainability. Through new ways of thinking, learning and knowing EarthCollective aims to empower members and partners as ‘change-makers’ to act upon their ambitions for co-creating an inspired and diverse future. Visit Website »
Maavalla Koda
Maavalla Koda aims to preserve, research and introduce tangible and intangible cultural and natural environment which is needed for the manifestation of nature worship of uniting Fenno-Ugric people in and around Estonia. In 1995 Maavalla Koda was entered in the register of the churches and congregations of the state as a union of religious organizations. Currently Maavalla Koda consists of five local Houses of believers in Estonian indigenous religion and nature worship. Visit Website »
DiversEarth aims to enhance the protection, management, and restoration of Sacred Natural Sites and other areas of high bio-cultural diversity asepcially in the Himalayan regions. Its overall goal is to maintain and enhance the natural sanctity of place for meditators, pilgrims, and others seeking the rejuvenating calm of the natural retreat. Visit Website »
Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD)
The Centre for Indigenous Knowledge and Organizational Development (CIKOD) is a non-profit organization based in Ghana. CIKOD strengthens the capacities of communities through traditional authorities (TAs) and local institutions to utilize their local and appropriate external resources for their own development and for future generations. Inthis Endogenous Development approach communities use the skills and knowledge already present in the community as a means to lever appropriate external resources for their development initiatives.
Oxlajuj Ajpop
Oxlajuj Ajpop is the National Coalition of Mayan Spiritual Leaders of Guatemala. Oxlajuj Ajpop has been effective in creating social and policy changes from the local to the national level based on indigenous values. Oxlajuj Ajpop works with over 27 communities, focusing on improving the endogenous capacity of communities to increase their own well-being (Vivir Bien). As part of this process Oxlajuj Ajpop has developed a proposal for a law on the Indigenous management of Sacred Sites in Guatemala. Visit Website »
Terralingua is an international not for profit organisation that works to sustain the biocultural diversity of life — the world’s precious heritage of biological, cultural, and linguistic diversity — through an innovative program of research, education, policy-relevant work, and on-the-ground action. It aims to bring about a profound shift in human values through a deeper understanding and appreciation of the vital importance of biocultural diversity for the survival of all life on earth, so that individual and collective action is taken to care for it and sustain it in this rapidly changing world. Visit Website »
ZAZOSO: Zanzibar Zoological Society
ZAZOSO is a Non–Governmental Organization (NGO). It was founded in March 2002, with the goal to assist the efforts of the Government to overcome the problem of poverty in the community by ensuring greater and sustained natural resources management. ZAZOSO wishes to see the sustainable livelihoods development of the Zanzibar community without jeopardizing the conservation of the natural resources. It provides participatory and demand driven extension, training and consultancy services in the fields of conservation and management of natural resources, and has been working with the Guardians of Sacred Groves for a number of years.
ICCA Consortium
The ICCA Consortium is an international association dedicated to promoting the appropriate recognition and support of ICCAs (Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Areas and Territories) in the regional, national and global arena. The Consortium is directly linked to the grassroots through its Members, which include both Indigenous Peoples (IP) and Local Community (LC) organizations and civil society groups working with IPs/LCs, and honorary members (individuals with relevant concerns and expertise). Visit Website »
The world database on sacred natural sites (SANASI) aims (1) to collect and provide data to analyze whether sacred natural sites harbor species that are especially valuable for biodiversity conservation and the provision of livelihoods, (2) to collect and provide data on the underlying values and institutional arrangements of sacred natural sites to analyze the parameters that are crucial for their successful management, and (3) to foster interdisciplinary research on these issues by developing a network of scientists and common research protocols that will facilitate collaborations and exchange of data. Visit Website »
The Sacred Site Research Newsletter (SSIREN) was conceived as a means to inform and aggregate the community of researchers working on Sacred Natural Sites. The Newsletter is issued quarterly and warmly welcomes contributions regarding news, events, opportunities, publications, or specific topics related to the link between spiritual beliefs, people and nature. SSIREN is an acronym from the title Sacred Sites Research Newsletter, but as a creature a Siren is also a convincing symbol of the connection between beliefs, culture and nature, which is characteristic of sacred natural sites.
Biodiversity Network Japan
Biodiversity Network Japan was established in 1991 by biologists, politicians, attorneys, journalists and citizens to disseminate and facilitate biodiversity conservation. Its mission is to conserve biodiversity through scientific research, policy advocacy, training, and dissemination of scientific knowledge. As a member of IUCN - The World Conservation Union, Biodiversity Network Japan works in close collaboration with experts and institutions around the world. Some of its achievements include organizing a series of symposia on global warming and invasive species, convening expert meetings, dispatching research missions, coordinating eco-tours and producing publications. Visit Website »

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