With the technical support of IUCN and the ICCA Consortium and the financial assistance of IUCN, European Commission, Aras Free Zone Authority and the Succow Foundation (Germany), Cenesta organised two successive workshops on Governance Assessment of Protected and Conserved Areas (PCAs) and Transboundary Conservation in Iran and Neighbouring Countries. The Department of the Environment (DOE) and Forests, Rangelands and Watershed Management Organisation of Iran were among the main national supporting organisations.
Cenesta has worked with the indigenous nomadic tribes and local communities of Iran for decades and has gathered information and many examples of best practices on a large variety of sustainable and effective governance systems for conservation of nature and natural resources practiced by them. Realising the importance of governance diversity, Cenesta set up the workshops to be held at a critical time for Iran’s official governance and management system of protected and conserved areas (PCAs).
As Iran strives to reach the Aichi Targets by 2020 and to upgrade its National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan (NBSAP-II) a welcoming environment is created to facilitate the appropriate recognition of ICCAs as an IUCN-recognised governance system and to help recognise indigenous peoples and local community rights and responsibilities in governing their customary territories. This will help ensure governance diversity, quality and vitality for the future of PCAs. Cenesta has also worked in conservation projects such as the Asiatic Cheetah Project (where it acted on behalf of IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy—CEESP) and on the governance system of PCAs in Iran and other countries. It has also worked on marine, coastal and island conservation.
The workshop on Governance Assessment of Protected and Conserved Areas in Iran was held between 30 July and 3 August 2016. It was held in a thriving ICCA; the Takle Tribe summering grounds of the Shahsevan Tribal Confederacy in North Western Iran on Mount Savalan, Iranian Azerbaijan region.
One of the most important outcomes of this workshop was the valuable alliances built between IPs/LCs and government agencies. This alliance will serve future endeavours relating to the appropriate recognition of Governance Type D (by indigenous peoples and local communities) both nationally and internationally—which will help in achieving Aichi Target 11. Additionally, the governance assessment and mapping exercises in the workshop were successful in demonstrating the views and suggestions of IPs/LCs, which were collected and later integrated within Iran’s NBSAP-II. The participants became well familiar with the IUCN Matrix of PCAs and the traditions, and customary governance systems for conservation of the Shahsevan Tribal Confederacy.
The first multi-stakeholder and international workshop on transboundary conservation was held in the city of Jolfa, Aras Free Zone, East Azerbaijan province. Jolfa is near the borders of Azerbaijan and Armenia. Held between 3–7 August, the workshop attracted participants from Iran’s terrestrial and marine neighbours.
Results of this workshop include:
- Main biodiversity hotspots shared by various groups of countries identified;
- Most damaging invasive alien species preliminarily identified such as mesquite (Prosopis juliflora);
- Support for Governance of Protected and Conserved Areas in Iran, Report No. 2
- Governance strategies of Iran and outputs of the workshop on governance assessment of protected and conserved areas in Iran shared with neighbouring countries;
- National experiences in governance diversity shared;
- Programmes and mechanisms of the IUCN explained to the participants.