The end of May saw Communities, Conservation & Livelihoods – an international conference co-hosted by the Communities Conservation Research Network (CCRN) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in Halifax, Canada – which provided a unique platform for celebrating how local communities around the world engage in environmental conservation and support sustainable livelihoods.

The conference brought over 400 participants together from a variety of backgrounds, including from Indigenous communities, academics, government, conservationists and students to exchange ideas and lessons learnt on how communities could be best supported through policy and practical programs – and build partnerships for the future.

“This conference is about people, place and looking towards the future. Most of the world’s solutions will be found at most local levels” – Kristen Walker, Chair of CEESP (IUCN’s Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy).

Focusing on the power of local communities to make a difference, the conference was packed with fascinating and thought provoking sessions including keynotes from speakers such as Fikret Berkes, and three major panels on:

  • presenting local community voices in Nova Scotia

  • highlighting indigenous voices on the environment and the economy

  • the importance of women in sustaining livelihoods and natural resource management

The conference also showcased a range of films, photo exhibits (including our One Square Meter), performances and artwork.

Some highlights from the three days:

“Money’s not tasty, no matter what spices you put on it. We need to consider more than making money” – beautiful welcome to #CCLConference by Mi’kmaki Elder Bernie Francis and Elder Rebecca Julian.
The first day of the Communities, Conservation and Livelihoods was both significant and symbolic for the DE team as it saw the official launch of one of our new projects – Roads Less Travelled, a new collaborative and global programme on mobile pastoralism.

With presentations from the founders and guest speakers, the session highlighted the importance of such an initiative and the main work streams under which interested collaborators can get involved.

One of our guest speakers unfortunately couldn’t make it, but sent us a wonderful video message to share with viewers: watch Avelino Rego’s video here.

Day 1 also saw the opening of our needle-felt celebration of mobile pastoralism, One Square Meter.

See the full album here.
On the second day of the conference, following a stimulating morning plenary by Fikrit Berkes on assessing community conservation, DiversEarth’s Liza Zogib presented a session on ‘The Governance of Sacred Sites: 21st Century Challenges of Maintaining the Natural Sanctity of Place’ in the afternoon – with very special guests Venerable Bhante Mettayya from Nepal, Gulnara Aitpaeva, Elder Zhenish and Aibek Samakov from Kyrgyzstan, and Dr. Agni Klintuni Boedhihartono from the University of British Columbia.
“It is rare to find platforms for the real guardians of nature to have their voices heard. This was one of them and we were honoured to have Venerable Bhante Metteyya and Elder Zenish, accompanied by Dr Gulnara, there with us.” – Liza Zogib, Director, DiversEarth.
Venerable Bhante Mettayya on restoring the sacred garden of Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha and a historical ecological garden since 600 BC. The aim is to conserve 60% of the area as a nature reserve instead of the previously planned massive development.
“What I’ve learnt from this conference, is that conservation is really about relationships” – Shaelene Kamaka Ala
Browse photos from all three days of #CCLConference here and here. The beautiful photos were taken by Sean Southey and Ashley Massey.