Advising Government Agencies
The CBC was selected by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to carry out an influential study on how engagement of local actors affect conservation results. A broad team of CBC experts led by CBC Chief Conservation Scientist, Dr. Eleanor Sterling, carried out a comprehensive literature review to assess the documented evidence from efforts around the world over the past 15 years to engage local actors and how those efforts affect biodiversity conservation goals.
Our analysis found that attitudinal change towards conservation was positively related to engagement efforts that incorporated stakeholder knowledge and values, included stakeholder input throughout, increased trust between stakeholders and planners, and had transparent decision-making. The review also identifies dimensions of engagement processes that are critical for success when a project is externally-driven, and offers recommendations that will be used to inform the work of USAID missions and local partners.
Guiding Global Policy
The IUCN, the largest global conservation organization, held its 2016 World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i in early September. The CBC was active at the meetings, and made considerable progress in two major areas: capacity development and biocultural approaches to conservation.
Dr. Eleanor Sterling is one of the leaders of capacity development for IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas and ran a series of pre-Congress meetings for facilitators and then a series of workshops, roundtables, and events during the Congress itself. These events focused on three areas— “professionalization” of parks, protected areas, and community conservation areas; evaluation of the role of capacity development in conservation; and capacity development by indigenous and local communities for indigenous and local communities. The activities were extremely well received and have set the stage for several follow up activities in the coming year, including a gathering of specialists in evaluating capacity development at Cambridge University in November.
At this meeting, Dr. Sterling received the inaugural Meritorious Research Award from the Commission on Environmental, Economic & Social Policy (CEESP). The committee selected Dr. Sterling unanimously, in recognition of her outstanding and inspirational research over a career specializing in the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, and bridging science and social science, research and practice in the pursuit of beneficial, equitable and just forms of biodiversity conservation. The CBC and the Museum are proud of this distinction, and offer their warm congratulations to Dr. Sterling!