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VI. Lessons and Opportunites

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devera ip phl

Lessons and Opportunites
Land tenure is key piece of conservation management. Management of the territory cannot proceed without securing tenure. It must also be acknowledged that traditional resource management has big contribution to conservation. However, Indigenous Peoples/local Communities can only practice traditional management in a territory. If access and control of the territory is not secured, they cannot exercise traditional resource management.
Opportunities for partnership or sense of ownership or stake are limited if they do not themselves have tenure, control or access to the resource.
Communities who do not have tenure will most often tend to view the conservation interventions as just another conservation project. Participation in such an initiative will be limited to employment opportunities provided by the
Magno, Francisco, Crafting Conservation: Forestry Social Capital, and Tenurial Security in Northern Philippines,
University of Hawaii, 199 7

project and the coercive nature of the Government partner. Community initiated participation and commitment can never be gained if tenure is not properly addressed.
If tenure is not adequately addressed, external conservation interventions may unintentionally facilitate external arrangements that will have dire consequences for them such as ecotourism. In the case of Coron the island was marketed so much for investment, a development that led land speculators to begin grabbing lands for resort development, to a situation which the community found overwhelming and eventually generated competing claims from outsiders.
However, it must be noted that even if the effect was unintentional, the community will be dealing with the consequences of the intervention long after the project has terminated. What is the impact of facing these consequences without tenure, without legal rights, legal protection?
Local initiative to negotiate and engage other stakeholders will be severely limited is tenure is not adequately addressed. Successful outcomes in negotiations happen if the IPs have collective land tenure and control the speed and process of the negotiations process and deal with the outside world along with hybrid institutions with legal personality which nevertheless remains underpinned with customary law. (Colchester)
The contribution of support groups such as NGOs has to be recognized. Current arrangements, requirements and processes that will allow communities to secure tenure are not within the experience of most Indigenous communities. Most communities still lack the capacity to engage the Government bureaucracy and the organizational demands once they are required to legally negotiate with the state or other entities and stakeholders. However, their role must be strictly within what is identified by the community as their specific task.
Conservation projects will be supported and embraced by Indigenous peoples/Local communities if they see a direct link with their ability exercise control and gain access to their resources. Major activities in conservation projects such as resource inventories, planning can be easily packaged to accommodate and address the need for tenure security of the local people. For instance, resource inventories could be used to identify the local names of the resources and the places where they are located. The documentation could then be used as evidences and proofs to strengthen the traditional rights and/or claims of the local people. Planning activities can be done along with the traditional leaders where their role as facilitators for consensus building is utilized. Action Planning should also include a clear target and schedule that shall address the tenurial security issue. At all times conservation initiatives

should not shy away and skirt the tenurial security issue if the support of the community is required.

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