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Nature Culture Working Group

© Lagi Reupena


The Nature Culture Working Group was established in June 2022. Its main purpose is to enhance the integration of cultural approaches into conservation programming, policy and activities. It is well known and understood that Pacific peoples and communities view nature and culture as one and do not separate them. However, this is not always reflected in conservation work in part due to global policy agendas where nature and culture are addressed in separate international instruments and in distinct international agencies.


IUCN, through its Nature Culture Journey, has been working towards addressing this challenge by driving initiatives linking nature and culture. This approach is coherent with both the Pacific Islands Framework for Nature Conservation and Protected Areas 2021-2025 and the Vemööre Declaration: Commitments to Nature Conservation Action in the Pacific Islands Region 2021-2025 which guide conservation in the Pacific Islands Region. The Nature Culture Working Group of PIRT is a tool to ‘put people at the heart of conservation action’ (Vemööre Declaration, Track 13) and to advance the objectives of the above initiatives and frameworks.


One of the missions of the Nature Culture Working Group is to bring together representatives of organisations working on culture and nature as well as interested individuals, to exchange and decide together on work priority areas. Some of these identified areas so far have been on better linking nature and cultural heritage in the context of the World Heritage Convention; working with indigenous and local languages in conservation; linking ocean culture and threatened and migratory species and developing enabling tools. The NCWG will continue to build on these areas and more in the future as its membership and priorities evolve.


The NCWG executive includes Daphney Kiki (Secretary), Filomena Vuetaki (Vice-Chair), Evia Tavanavanua (Vice-Chair) and Elise Huffer (Chair). 

Workshops and webinars

The Nature Culture Working Group runs regular workshops and webinars which are open both to Working Group members and the wider Pacific conservation community.

Pacific languages and nature conservation workshop, 17 October 2023

Language plays a central role in how people make sense of themselves. In the Pacific, it is fundamental to people’s identity, spirituality, and relationships to the land, sea and sky. Encoded in the diverse Indigenous languages are the world views and knowledge systems which people have gained through their interactions with the natural world. As such working with language is core to good conservation practice.

The objective of this workshop is to explore language as a carrier of ecological and cultural knowledge and how to work with language/s effectively in conservation work.  The workshop was presented by Apolonia Tamata (USP) and Candide Simard (USP), facilitated by Elise Huffer (NCWG).  Please find the recording below.

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