For at least the past 20 years, conservation has been wrestling with some of the darker aspects of its historical relationship with local communities: legacies of colonialism, institutional racism, lack recognition of Indigenous peoples’ rights, and abuses like forced evictions from traditional lands and extrajudicial killings. These issues gained increased notoriety in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing last year when the Black Lives Matter movement forced a public conversation around state violence and social injustice in the United States and beyond. There are signs that the conservation sector is now doing more than just paying lip service to these concerns: Indigenous peoples and local communities are being more actively engaged in decision-making; leadership and boards of conservation institutions are prioritizing diversity and inclusion; and discriminatory practices are increasingly being called out as unacceptable. Issues like free prior informed consent (FPIC) are regularly part of conservation project planning, while conservation groups have taken to promoting local peoples’ land rights as a key component of the battle against climate change and the extinction crisis. But reorienting conservation to put the rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities at the center of strategy and decision-making won’t be easy. Recognizing Indigenous rights as a gap in the philanthropic space in general, the San Francisco-based Christensen Fund recently reoriented its grantmaking approach and adopted a new mission: supporting the global Indigenous peoples’ movement “in its efforts to advance the rights and opportunities of stewards of biocultural diversity.” To deliver on this mission, last year…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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