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Part V Introduction

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This volume includes an almost dizzying array of issues, problems, disciplines and approaches. Starting from Part I with a number of chapters discussing the ideal and the reality of democracy, and the goal of ecological integrity against a background of contrasting approaches, Part II then proposed some alternative forms of governance, based on the beliefs and traditional values of Indigenous Peoples from various regions.

Part III approached the difficult question of ecological health and human responsibility in both ethics and law in relation to the limits of property rights, while Part IV returned to the details of both rights and responsibilities, through a consideration of some specific issues, including air (climate change), water, and food; hence, through the components of basic human rights.

Part V, therefore, should draw some conclusions linking the issues to our main focus: the right to, and the responsibility for, ecological integrity in a globalized world. Agnès Michelot perhaps comes closest to our main topic by discussing the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme on protected areas. From the beginning of our joint work, the Global Ecological Integrity Group (GEIG) has discussed the question of the size and details of protected areas, and both “core areas” and “buffer zones“ have been the main focus of our research, given their importance for the protection and support of both integrity and biodiversity.

Thus two chapters address the international legal aspects of the respect and preservation not only of natural diversity, but also of the cultural diversity of traditions and languages that Tullio Scovazzi considers as he writes of the Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO, 17 October 2003). How does the Convention relate to the central focus of our work – that is, the protection of integrity? As many of us have argued (see, for instance, the chapters by Bradford Morse and Ramy Bulan in this volume), the protection and preservation of their territories’ integrity is an integral part of Indigenous Peoples’ cultural and traditional rights. Hence, although the Convention's intent is not, directly, the protection of nature, nature is “indirectly protected” by its mandates.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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