Empowering indigenous people in protected areas

11 September 2012 | News story

Oscar Loayza 2012 - Bolivia

An innovative approach to indigenous peoples participation in protected area management has been cited in awarding Oscar Loayza, from Bolivia, the Kenton Miller Award for Innovation in Protected Areas Management. Oscar received the Miller Award at a ceremony at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

An international jury chose Oscar for his development of initiatives that strengthened indigenous participation in the management of protected areas, leading to improved governance. His efforts in Madidi National Park – one of the world’s richest protected areas for biodiversity – to develop favorable conditions for governance promoted alliances between conservationists and indigenous peoples defending their territorial and organizational rights. Madidi National Park is threatened by large infrastructure projects, roads, dams, oil exploration and small scale mining.

“We are inspired by Oscar’s work, and delighted to present the Kenton Miller award to this well-deserving individual,” says Nik Lopoukhine, Chair of the World Commission on Protected Areas. “His innovative approach to governance of protected areas has ensured that not only do indigenous people participate in the process, but they are empowered and become an integral part of it.”

The Kenton Miller Award is given annually by IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas. Named for Dr. Kenton R. Miller, one of the leading figures in international protected area conservation, the award honours innovation in communications, planning and management, finance and economics, assessment, monitoring and evaluation, learning and capacity building, or governance.

Past recipients include Nigel Dudley and Sue Stolton in 2011 for their new approaches in communicating the benefits of protected areas; Ernesto Enkerlin Hoeflich for his innovations in the creative employment of language, policy, legislation, educational activities, public-private partnership arrangements, and local community cooperation; Marc Hockings for developing methods for park managers to evaluate if actions are really achieving conservation goals; and Heliodoro Sanchez for his new methods for re-establishing mangrove ecosystems.

“On behalf of the Miller children and our children, I salute Oscar and the past recipients of the Kenton Miller award,” says Kenton Miller’s son Todd Miller, who participated in the award presentation. “In view of the unprecedented changes sweeping the globe, the survival of protected areas and the benefits they provide to future generations will depend on the innovations developed today”.

For more information on the Kenton Miller award contact:
Delwyn Dupuis: delwyn.dupuis@iucn.org