Nature Strategy For Sustainability (NSS) Project


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Introduction – The Nature Strategy for Sustainability (NSS) Project aims to establish a global network committed to generating international guidelines, replicable models, and tools for development practices that protect wild nature while meeting basic needs of human health and prosperity.  It applies the principles of Nature Needs Half™ (HALF) – an aspirational and practical vision of sustainability based on the scientific consensus that keeping at least half of wild nature intact and interconnected is vital to ensuring continued life-supporting services to humankind.  HALF can be composed of interconnected large land and seascapes, or a connected mosaic of wild nature found in parks, forests, refuges, working lands, and waters utilized and managed with nature conservation as a primary value.

The Nature Strategy for Sustainability (NSS) prioritizes the protection of nature for its fundamental role in:  Alleviated human suffering – nutrition, drinking water, shelter and sanitation enabled through nature-conserving food, fiber and energy production and water management; Enhanced human security – mitigating resource scarcity and human conflict by recognizing that productive human societies are tied directly to ecosystem health and stability; and Nature valued in the economy – socioeconomic valuation of environmental services, conservation-related job skills and livelihoods, accounting for renewable resource degradation and depletion in national capital asset accounts, and markets for carbon, water and biodiversity.

NSS Approach –The NSS Project will create and apply a holistic, inclusive, and rational approach to sustainable development that protects and restores ecosystems and biodiversity at a land and seascape scale to achieve protection of at least 50% of the original ecosystem intact and interconnected in order to ensure the continued production of ecological services.  This half can be achieved through a wide range of conservation scenarios, including collaborative policies and management of formally designated protected areas, easements, zones of limited sustainable use, and working lands, forests, and seas managed with the protection of nature and its services recognized as a mutually dependent, achievable value.  The NSS will aim to meet development priorities through nature-compatible agriculture and ranching/pastoralism, forest use, water management, fisheries, energy production, and tourism and recreation.  Cross-cutting themes are nature rights, indigenous concerns, gender equity, youth engagement, and climate change resilience.  NSS will emphasize the vulnerability of drought and flooding prone areas.

Project Activities – In preparation for the 10th World Wilderness Congress (WILD10, October 2013 in Salamanca, Spain), WILD is facilitating a NSS coalition with a variety of partners and organizing activities resulting in achievable, measurable, and visible practical outcomes by enabling diverse and equitable, expert participation.  These partners are establishing a new network of policymakers, practitioners, and educators capable of crafting a “Nature Strategy for Sustainability” with achievable, measurable, and visible practical outcomes accomplished through capacity-building workshops and associated roundtable dialogues to generate customizable policy and communication (narrative and visual) strategies.  WILD aims to enable diverse and equitable participation by recruiting sponsorships of typically underrepresented racial and cultural groups, women, and youth.  NSS will document and share internationally replicable best practices in multiple formats for interpretation on the ground and virtually via web-based tools.  NSS activity areas under development are:

1.  Nature Rights – Advancing policy and legal approaches to conservation from viewing nature as property (use/access) to legally recognizing the productivity of nature and its existence value and right to exist, as well as human environmental rights to nature’s ecological commons and its life-supporting services.

2.  Nature for Health – Human health as an ecosystem benefit.  Watershed and wetland destruction and climate change effects on water supplies and filtration.  The connection between clean water, sanitation/hygiene and disease prevention and control.  Nutrition from natural systems.  Connecting nature and HIV/AIDS prevention.

3.  “Green Nature Economy” – Integrating private and community lands into systems of payments for ecosystem services (PES).  Innovative conservation financing. Models of demand reduction for products extracted by destroying nature.  Conservation livelihoods and enterprise; community conservation areas.

4.  Agriculture, Ranching/Pastoralism & Nature – Communities protecting and regenerating the wild nature in food and fiber production areas.  Building climate change resilience into agriculture.  Avoiding human-wildlife conflict.  Mali Elephants Project model from theSahel and others.  Working landscape strategies for water quality, biodiversity and wildlife corridors.

5.  Forestry & Nature – Forging stakeholder agreements between forest owners/users, local indigenous communities whose livelihoods depend on intact forests, business, and regulatory agencies to halt/mitigate deforestation drivers.  The critical need to evolve forest-valuing economies on the frontier of large forests.  Facilitated dialogue among forestry practitioners about how to integrate best practices in re-wilding a landscape, enhancing the integral ecological value of old growth forests in core protected areas as socio-economic benefits are gained from surrounding areas.

6.  Energy & Nature – Assessing proposed/claimed “nature-compatible” energy development practices and investment guidelines/standards to determine the common and disparate elements and consider how these function to protect wild nature in reality.  Produce a NSS monitoring function that would allow the public to judge investment firms on the basis of their nature protection commitment.

7.  Role of Women in Nature Conservation – Nature conservation as a new paradigm for gender equity:  counteracting the undermining effect of women not having the access to, control over, and benefits from wild nature because of fundamental discrimination in social, political and economic terms, including land tenure.  Empowerment of women to participate equally in NSS leadership and technology transfer opportunities.

8.  Indigenous Lands & Seas – Indigenous stewardship of nature across territorial land and seascapes, including rights to customary cultural and livelihood uses of natural resources in or around “protected” areas.  Cultural expressions of the indigenous relationship with nature.  Accounting for cultural, historic and sacred sites in nature conservation schemes, and the relevance of traditional ecological knowledge and Indigenous wisdom in best practices.  Support of the Native Lands & Wilderness Council (NLWC) as an independent, indigenous-led peer-to-peer group.

9.  Nature for Recreation & Experiential Learning – Social benefits of nature-dependent sports, exploration, and tourism.  Life skills and leadership development through nature immersion.  Nature’s psychological  benefits.

10.  Governance & Natural Resource Crimes – The sovereignty violations and governance-debilitating activities overwhelming countries besot with illegal and foreign-inspired poaching of wildlife, fish, forest products, and minerals.  The corruption and nature loss equation.

11.  Investor Coalition for Wild Nature – Making the business case for corporate and financial environmental responsibility, utilizing best examples of development investment and marketing practices that restore and sustain intact natural land and seascapes. An analysis ofChina’s impact onAfrica.LegacyLand and Seascape sponsorships by corporate and private philanthropies.

12.  Citizen Activism for Nature Conservation – Local constituency-building among stakeholders around a policy to protect or restore a particular area of wild nature or a species, and activating volunteer and service corps (and CoalitionWILD youth and young professionals in particular) and “citizen science” to monitor nature, carry out field work (e.g. streambank stabilization, trash cleanups), and inventory biodiversity.

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