The DELOS Initiative
delos@med-ina.org

Cultural and spiritual significance of nature. Guidance for protected and conserved area governace and management

Cultural and spiritual significance of nature. Guidance for protected and conserved area governace and management

T his best practice guideline published by the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, is the result of a long project by the IUCN Group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Natural Areas. The Delos Initiative was part of the team collaborating on the project since its early phases.  These guidelines respond to a growing need to make nature conservation more inclusive, effective and equitable. In this endeavor, it was necessary to incorporate multiple worldviews, to treat natural and cultural heritage as interrelated, and to propose ways to attract and empower all concerned groups. The guidelines, using rights-based approaches that recognize both human rights and legal pluralism also help create common ground for conflict resolution.

In the age of systemic crisis in which we live, this guide may help to rethink the foundations and values that underpin conservation policies. The guide provides selected case studies (including some Delos Initiative case studies) and real examples from around the world. These case studies inspire fairer and more effective models of nature conservation. They also suggest ways to overcome obstacles created by Western cultural colonialism.

The cultural and spiritual importance of nature encompasses the spiritual, cultural, inspiring, aesthetic, historical and social meanings, values, feelings, ideas and associations that nature has for past, present and future generations of people, collectives and local communities.

You may download the Guidelines from this link.