Peter A. Seligmann, CI Chairman and CEO
Successful conservation requires engaging many kinds of leaders – from village elders to members of Congress.
Indigenous people living in and around proposed protected areas are among our most important partners
. With their heritage and values inextricably linked to the natural world, these groups have always been our allies in biodiversity conservation. Our partnership with the Amazon's Kayapó Indians
is one example. We have reached the same level of mutual respect and cooperation with a number of indigenous communities
that live in or near the biodiversity hotspots
or wilderness areas
Last fall, the CI Board revised our exisiting indigenous peoples policy and adopted a new set of principles for engagement with indigenous communities. This policy reaffirms the conservation role indigenous communities play and stresses how critical it is that we work together as partners. At the same time, we are strengthening our capacity to reach and inform another genre of leader—the lawmakers in halls of state and national government. Last year, we launched the Center for Conservation and Government (CCG). Already the CCG catalyzed support from the U.S. State Department for a large-scale conservation partnership in the Congo
. The CCG also played a leading role in the launch of the President’s Initiative Against Illegal Logging and in the creation of the International Conserva-tion Caucus, a first for the U.S. Congress.
In November, several Board members and I met with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to discuss conservation initiatives and thank him for his support.
Local government leaders in the countries where we work are also vital allies. In this issue of Frontlines
, we profile the remarkable progress made in protecting the Amazon
, where CI and its partners supported two governors in their steps to safeguard millions of acres of tropical wilderness. Partnerships with local and national governments also played a decisive role in the creation of protected areas in the Philippines
Results of these relationships are proof of their immeasurable value. CI will continue to seek diverse leaders in our global society as partners in protecting this Earth we all share.