Heart of Borneo as a 'Jalan Tikus': Exploring the Links Between Indigenous Rights, Extractive and Exploitative Industries, and Conservation at the World Conservation Congress 2008



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Conservation and Society


At the Fourth World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008, a number of motions were passed that emphasised human and indigenous rights and the role of the private sector, particularly extractive and exploitative industries, in conservation. These issues are highly relevant to the ongoing World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-led Heart of Borneo (HoB) conservation initiative, which is situated in an area with overlapping political jurisdictions and an array of possible futures, which could include new or expanded protected areas, community-managed conservation programmes, or oil palm plantations potentially covering millions of hectares. The HoB initiative is ambiguous in the sense that its borders are not fixed, its land and resource management strategies are not clearly defined, its projects are not predetermined, and its policies regarding who benefits from it are not obvious. HoB is also ambitious, and its actors must negotiate a number of different types of scales: geographic, political, economic, institutional, and ecological. These factors offer both opportunities and weaknesses both for conservation and for local and indigenous communities living within the HoB area. Using HoB as an example, I show how small NGOs, national branches of multinational NGOs like WWF, and local and indigenous communities must walk a 'jalan tikus' to accomplish conservation and indigenous rights goals. I also offer suggestions on how the motions passed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) membership can be incorporated into HoB planning on the ground.



WCC, Indigenous, rights