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Conservation as a form of governance

Conservation districts put sustainable development right into the hands of local governments.
© WWF-Indonesia / West Kalimantan
Fishermen in Danau Sentarum National Park area, West Kalimantan, Indonesia
© WWF-Indonesia / West Kalimantan
For WWF and partners, making conservation districts a reality has become a priority for effective protection of the Heart of Borneo.

What are conservation districts?

Conservation districts are administrative units that are based on sustainable development principles (see boxed text to the right).

In the Heart of Borneo, conservation districts are seen as a logical development to avoid sacrificing natural habitat to unplanned economic development.

In the hands of local governments

Planning for conservation districts is the undertaking of local governments, but NGOs, research/education institutions and management agencies all need to be involved in the effort. At a higher level, conservation districts must also work hand in hand with the central government to prepare a long-term development plan.

Making conservation districts happen

In Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), efforts are underway to turn conservation districts from a set of principles into a workable solution for local governments. While the concept, principles and criteria for conservation districts have already been agreed to, the policy support that is required, such as a ministry regulation, is still lacking.

Conservation district criteria:

  • Include designated conservation areas
  • Set limits to development activities
  • Have a mission that is founded on conservation principles
  • Demonstrate political commitment to implement sustainable management of natural resources
  • Benefit from competent environmental management institutions