Best Practices for Religious and Indigenous Community Interaction


Have you worked on a project with a leader or group affiliated with a religion or an indigenous community? If you have, learning about your experience will be helpful to other SCB members who need and want support for their efforts in areas throughout the world.  

The Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group (RCBWG) of SCB is seeking the input of all members on successful practices for relating to and working with religious and indigenous leaders and communities on local to global projects. To identify these best practices, we have initiated a survey to collect data on your experiences (positive and negative). This short survey constitutes the first step toward creating guidelines for interacting constructively with religious leaders and communities when conducting and implementing research. 

After these data are collected, SCB members will have an opportunity to present their successful practices at a symposium during the 2017 ICCB in Cartagena, Colombia and participate in a workshop at which guidelines for establishing a working relationship with religious and indigenous leaders and communities will be drafted. The results of this workshop will be formatted and submitted to the SCB Board of Governors by January 2018 for consideration and action. If approved, the guidelines will be circulated to all SCB members. Subsequent plans include a symposium at the 2019 ICCB to highlight successful collaborations using the guidelines, workshops at regional SCB meetings, presentations at the American Academy of Religion and other academic groups, and networking with environmental organizations.  
Identification of network possibilities is underway to discover guidelines and codes that other professional organizations have established. Among them are the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Alliance for Religions and Conservation, Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Delos Initiative, International Society of Ethnobiology, Sacred Natural Sites Initiative, and World Wildlife Fund.

Please click Best Practices Survey, tell us about your experiences, and recommend positive ways of conducting research in areas where the support and involvement of religious/indigenous leaders and communities are desirable. This survey will remain open until September 10, so please participate by that day! Your input is vital for establishing a set of guidelines aimed at achieving successful research and practice outcomes that are sensitive to religious traditions.

For further information, contact Jame Schaefer and Sue Higgins who are co-leading this project for the RCBWG.