Protected areas as model regions for sustainable development

It has been an interesting session, with 7 presentations from the Alps, the Iberian mountains, the Sinai, Himalaya and the Andes. Mountain protected areas can be seen as model regions of sustainability, however, in some cases it still might be a long way to fullfil this goal.

Indicators demonstrated in the presentations were:

  • moths and spiders as well as plants for the goal “biodiversity”, presented by VP Uniyal, Andrés Moreira-Muñoz and Ana Maria Carvalho,
  • land use and grazing for the economic goals, presented by Adelheid Humer-Gruber and Tamer Khafaga
  • the perception of stakeholders living in protrected areas, with the example of farmers, presented by Adelheid Humer-Gruber
  • and others, mentioned in the discussions, as reactions to climate change (mentioned by Dirk Hofmann) or the GLORIA indicators (mentioned by Brigitta Erschbamer0)

Options for sustainable development were presented by Andrés, demonstrating the oportunities of urban-rural vecinities, or the scenarios of “buen vivir” and “buen comer”. The importance of the local knowledge was highlighted by Ana Maria Carvalho, Benedikt Hora, and Andrés Moreira-Muñoz also demonstrated the growing importance of protected areas in private hands.

However, there are many constraints, or challenges, to be overcome or confronted:

Ana Maria highlighted the problem of governance (the protected areas management in her case study is located outside the parks and structured top-down), she and others spotlighted the lack of participation. Benedikt and Tamer mentioned the deficit of respecting the traditional or indigenous cultures of the Bedouins in Egypt or the Mapuche in Chile. And the existence of huge private parks, driven by rich foreigners, may be seen critically as well. And, last not least the incorporation of urban areas may still be a challenge for further developing protected areas in a sustainable way.

It is impossible to mention all the interesting thoughts, ideas and examples presented in the speeches and discussions. So I hope many presenters and participants will help to extend this discussion.

 

Axel Borsdorf, Session Chair

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