Community-led, ground-based conservation planning, management and practice have gained international recognition as more effective, durable and responsible conservation strategies. A human right prioritized approach respects local populations living in and along targeted biodiversity hotspots by considering them a key partner, not just a stakeholder, in conservation. The work of this project recognizes that successfully achieving locally appropriate biodiversity and wildlife conservation management requires that:
Most importantly, the project recognises the vision of the Karen people. Despite decades of political conflict the Karen have managed to preserve and manage what is now considered one of the last great wilderness areas remaining in Asia.
As they emerge from this turmoil they stand firm on their commitment to preserve biodiversity and to manage development opportunities in a way that ensures long-term sustainability and the preservation of peace and culture.
KWCI work in close collaboration with the Karen Forestry Department and local NGO, KESAN, who currently undertake community outreach activities with the local Karen communities, employing local villagers to assist in wildlife and forest conservation surveys and as rangers in the Wildlife Protection Units. These community development and education programs, as well as agricultural assistance and alternative livelihood programs, ensure ongoing community commitment to conservation.
With support from IUCN- KfW, KWCI is also providing support to local communities to establish buffalo banks and small-scale irrigation, enabling organic, subsistence farming and the potential for managed agroforestry that fits sustainably within their framework of protected areas and community forests.
This beautiful landscape, rich with wildlife, also presents incredible opportunities for eco-tourism and as access to this region improves, we will continue to explore opportunities for communities to implement such initiatives, free from exploitation.
KWCI stand beside the Karen people, providing support and guidance to help them to implement their bold and exciting plans for the future.
With economic development driving forward, the short-term financial incentives on offer are likely to present challenges to upholding the long-term vision for a more sustainable future. Providing the resources and the international support to enable approaches that will facilitate lasting peace and a thriving ecosystem are vital. We need your help to ensure ongoing employment and capacity building within the local organisations and to empower communities to stand strong in their fight to protect wildlife and forests.