The 2nd meeting of the Asian Parks Congress concluded in Malaysia with representatives from government agencies, NGOs, international organizations, youth groups, and Indigenous peoples to discuss solutions to the most pressing issues facing the conservation of nature in Asia today.
Among the topics was how a greater degree of involvement of indigenous communities with land management is beneficial for the long-term flourishing of native ecosystems.
“The Congress was unique in that it convened voices from Indigenous peoples as well as youth, and acknowledged the need to go beyond business as usual to strengthen parks for biodiversity conservation and for human well-being”, said Dr. Madhu Rao, Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA).
Highlighted during the conferences was a recent agreement between the Central Land Council of Central Australia, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), and the Ngalurrtju Aboriginal Land Trust, which will see 300,000 hectares (745,000 acres) of the outback leased for stewardship to a coalition of Aboriginal speakers including the Warlpiri, Anmatyerr, and Luritja-speaking traditional owners.
The land trust will include significant sites of cultural and spiritual importance on the eastern edge of the Great Sandy Desert. For 50 years Ngalurrtju operated as a cattle station, albeit with limited cattle grazing. situated next to Newhaven Wildlife Sanctuary, almost equal in size, together protecting around 600,000 hectares, or 1.5 million acres of wildlife habitat.
“That’s the scale where you can put the entire cities of Sydney and Melbourne in there and still have room left over,” AWC chief executive Tim Allard told ABC-AU News.