CBD COP11: Sacred sites have spiritual and ecological importance

CBD COP11 (10/10/2012) – Bas Vershuuren, co-chair of the IUCN Specialist Group on the Cultural and Spiritual Value of Protected Areas, explains the value of sacred natural sites: natural sites with particular spritual value to people or communities.

Verschuuren emphasises the need to protect these sites, which are usually governed by local authorities – village councils or elders – so can be vulnerable to centralised development. The IUCN are looking to support these local authorities to maintain and conserve their sacred natural sites, which contribute to biodiversity worldwide.

Verschuuren cites Estonia as a successful example in the protection of sacred natural sites: the Baltic state has a registry of the 7000 sites that fit this description and they are protected from development.