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Accepted Participant Detail:
Participant:Saw John Bright (Karen Environmental and Social Action Network)
Saw John is an ethnic Karen, working as water governance program coordinator with KESAN fostering inclusive, informed, accountable and equitable community-based natural resource governance. John has been accepted for a PhD program in 2022 at Wageningen University to study the Salween Peace Park.
John will draw on his extensive experience working with Karen communities to establish the Salween Peace Park. Reflect on his knowledge as a Karen person, John will discuss what decolonizing conservation means in an area that is at once a biodiversity hotspot, a centre of Indigenous Karen culture, and the site of one of the longest-running armed conflicts in the world. Indigenous Karen villagers, local Karen administrators, and Karen civil society organizations are promoting a different kind of conservation -- a model that recognizes and supports local communities' environmental governance rooted in ancestral ways of knowing and being with their lands, waters, and forests. As an Indigenous-declared protected area, or ICCA, the Salween Peace Park stands in sharp contrast to the colonial 'fortress' conservation models that remain prevalent across Southeast Asia.
Decolonizing Conservation: A Global Conversation