Connecting nature and culture

The Connecting Practice project aims to define new methods and strategies to support Nature and Culture through engagement in the World Heritage Convention, which is the leading international instrument for conservation that brings together nature and culture.

The ‘Connecting Practice’ project aims to explore, learn and create new methods of recognition and support for the interconnected character of the natural, cultural and social value of highly significant land and seascapes and affiliated biocultural practices.

The World Heritage Convention is the leading international instrument for conservation that brings together nature and culture. Yet a range of obstacles to good performance exist and need to be addressed.

The project is a joint initiative between IUCN and ICOMOS providing the opportunity for exploring how to form a more genuinely integrated consideration of natural and cultural heritage under the World Heritage Convention – ‘bridging the divide’ that is often observed between nature and culture – overcoming the many unintended adverse outcomes that can result. It involves as partners the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German Bundesamt für Naturschutz (BfN), COMPACT and Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). The project is supported by The Christensen Fund.

Long-term objectives

  • Influence a shift in conceptual and practical arrangements for the consideration of culture and nature within the implementation of the World Heritage Convention, and to engage new actors in promoting positive results for conservation and communities.
  • Establish new and stronger partnerships with organizations that are already engaged in World Heritage and are taking biocultural and community-based approaches to sustainable development - and support these partners to multiply results through their wider programmes, with States Parties and within the meetings of the World Heritage Convention.

Short-term objectives

  • Take a local-global learning approach engaging in three contrasting landscapes/seascapes – selected to be regionally diverse, representing different stages in the World Heritage designation and management process – to ensure that lessons are credible, workable and robust.
  • Explore and define practical strategies to deliver a fully connected approach to considering nature and culture in the practices and institutional cultures of IUCN and ICOMOS, in order to deliver advice that will achieve better conservation and sustainable use outcomes that reflect the perspectives, interests and rights of custodians and local communities.

The outcomes and recommendations of the project are presented in two reports for phase II (2017) and phase I (2015).