The Global Sustainable Tourism Council® (GSTC®) announced in April 2023 the development of new criteria sets, GSTC MICE Criteria and GSTC Attraction Criteria, with support from the Singapore Tourism Board STB.
The GSTC MICE Criteria (covering Venues, Event Organizers, and Events/Exhibitions) and GSTC Attraction Criteria aim to serve as the global sustainability standards for these respective industries.
The first public consultation period for the GSTC Attraction Criteria has begun and will remain open until the 15th of March, 2024 (60 days). Professionals and practitioners in the attraction sector are invited to share insights during the first public consultation phase of the GSTC Attraction Criteria.
The GSTC Attraction Criteria includes four sections: Section A (Demonstrate effective sustainable management); Section B (Maximize social and economic benefits to the local community and minimize negative impacts); Section C (Maximize benefits to cultural heritage and minimize negative impacts) and Section D (Maximize benefits to the environment and minimize negative impacts).
You are more than welcome to make your comments on the whole criteria set here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/
Or if you would like to comment on one specific section that you feel most confident, please click on the links below:
After the first public consultation period is over, a compiling and revision will be made which will be reviewed during the feasibility assessment followed by drafting revisions as needed.
To know more about GSTC Criteria Development, Feedback, and Revision, please check this page.
Three leading human rights organizations have released a statement denouncing Kenya’s illegal evictions of the Ogiek people, and highlighting the role conservation projects and carbon credits could play in such land thefts.
In the statement, Survival International, Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group note that “Indigenous peoples cannot be evicted without their free, prior, and informed consent, and that evictions without such consent are [...] unlawful.”
An estimated 167 Ogiek houses, including a school, have been destroyed in the Mau Forest, in just the latest wave of a series of evictions which have been going on for years.
Daniel Kobei, Executive Director of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program said: “This is a government eating its own children.”
The evictions also violate two groundbreaking rulings of the African Court.
The organizations point out that Kenya recently signed agreements that will pave the way for reforestation as well as the production of carbon credits on millions of hectares of land.
These projects, and other moves to expand the carbon credits market in the Global South, are expected to greatly increase the theft of Indigenous peoples’ lands; increase funding for violent fortress conservation projects; and will likely lead to many more waves of evictions.
The full statement is presented below:
Joint statement on forced evictions of Indigenous Peoples in Kenya - November 2023
The signatory organisations call on the government of Kenya to immediately cease all evictions in the Mau Forest, as they are in violation of Kenyan law, as well as the judgements of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the Ogiek case.
We note that Indigenous Peoples cannot be evicted without their free, prior, and informed consent and that evictions without such consent amount to forced evictions, which are both unlawful under domestic law and a gross violation of international and regional human rights laws. We call on the Kenyan government to respect the rights of the Ogiek people, including their land rights, and to remedy the harms that have already been committed.
More than 700 people have been rendered homeless in the Mau Forest as part of this eviction drive. Many of the inhabitants, including children and people with disabilities, have reportedly refused to leave their land and are currently living in the open, exposed to the elements.
Daniel Kobei, Executive Director of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program said: “This is a government eating its own children shamelessly”.
The Kenyan government has listed concerns over the environment and protection against “human encroachment” as a reason for its actions. We note however, that repeated studies have shown that Indigenous Peoples are the best guardians of their lands. The ground-breaking African Court judgement in the Ogiek case confirmed that there is no evidence that the government can conserve biodiversity in the Mau Forest better than the Ogiek are already doing, and that conservation cannot be used as an excuse for eviction of Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral lands.
We also caution against the escalation of these and other abuses against the Ogiek and other Indigenous Peoples in the light of a recent loan, which the Kenyan government has agreed with the International Monetary Fund to increase forest cover, coinciding with the President’s announcement that all “water towers” (major forest landscapes) in the country would be fenced off and all human presence removed.
We further note the recent announcement of a government initiative to trade carbon credits on millions of hectares in Kenya. We call on the government to clarify whether the Ogiek evictions are linked to this initiative. Forest-based carbon projects are particularly problematic as they often target Indigenous Peoples and their ways of life rather than the true drivers of the climate crisis. While there is mounting evidence that existing offsetting schemes have failed to mitigate against climate change, they have already had a detrimental impact on Indigenous Peoples’ lives and land rights in Kenya and beyond.
We stress that any forest conservation initiative connected to the forced eviction of Indigenous Peoples is illegal and in violation of international law. We cannot protect our planet without recognizing and respecting Indigenous Peoples' rights to their lands.
While COP28 in Dubai supposedly tries to cut carbon emissions, two countries could go to war over Oil. Venezuela has laid claim to the Essequibo area of Guyana for over two centuries, and a short-lived indigenous secession attempt, possibly Venezuela-backed, took place in 1969. Guyana brought the matter to the International Court of Justice ('The Hague') in 2018, but Venezuela did not take part. Oil discovery in Guyana in 2016 and again in recent months has increased the stakes, with Venezuela holding a referendum on December 3, 2023 on approving an annexation of Essequibo, which represents two thirds of sparsely-populated Guyana (pop. 800,000, area 215,000 km2), a former British colony and the only English-speaking country of South America. Are we seeing a new Iraq vs Kuwait conflict? Is Maduro going to become a new Saddam or Ioannidis? Will the US, which may be planning a base in Essequibo, exploit this opportunity to topple Venezuela's government? Or is this a repetition of Indonesia's 1969 annexation of Western Papua with the blessings of the West so that it stops looking 'East'. And another, naive question: could the two countries agree to keep the oil in the ground and only allow ecological tourism in this highly biodiverse region? (The question is valid for more country pairs, such as Greece & Turkey.)
The 1978 world cup final was the first one I watched live on TV. It was the meeting of two worlds, global south vs global north, and two government models: the hosts, Argentina, then ruled by a rather brutal military dictatorship, played against Holland, a European, laid back, Social Democracy. Fast forward 45 years later, both countries have voted in favour of far right+neoliberal candidates this week. Another poster child of social democracy, Sweden, is mulling deportations of foreigners, immigrants and refugees, deemed undesirable or threatening to Swedish culture. A few months ago Italy, where fascism was invented in the 1920s, elected post-fascists in government. France's Le Pen came very close in 2022 and is already preparing for 2027. In affluent Switzerland, hospitable caretaker of $ trillions originating in the global south, the Swiss People's Party came first in the 2023 elections. In Austria the "Freedom Party" is ahead in polls and preparing for 2024. Last but not least, we are currently seeing the, some experts say genocidal, results of the most ultra right wing government in the history of Israel taking power. Authoritarian leaders are proliferating (too many to name) even in countries you would not ever think it possible, while in Greece, the center-right government was caught red-handed earlier this year spying on the opposition and journalists. Is all this in some way the bad legacy of Covid? Did governments realize that they have or can have greater control over us? Are wars and conflicts that never end - like Syria, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Gaza, Sahel and others, and the refugee waves they create making people in more affluent countries turn to ‘macho’ politicians with misanthropic, but clear, policy proposals? Or perhaps this is far less complicated and some "bad" actors, state, private or both, are deliberately promoting and funding the far right and spewing hatred for their own ends?
A temporary ceasefire, in Gaza, that the many, the polloi, the peace-loving citizens of the world, hope it can somehow last. It will most likely not, and what many experts already call a genocide, will continue for at least a few months. Thousands of lines are being written every minute about the war on Gaza but little is written on why it started at that particular moment. Is it totally accidental that there is a major conflict going on in the Ukraine? Or that the war in Syria is inconclusive? That the war broke out just as Saudis were in talks with the Chinese? Did both the Russians and the US actually wanted this war, or both, divide-and-rule style, given that they have not lifted a single finger to stop it? Remember that Russia, and especially the old Soviet Union was traditionally staunchly pro-Palestinian. Then there was this ultra right wing government in Israel. The super powers can always count on some ultra right wing idiot to step on the proverbial banana. Think Saddam and Kuwait, Ioannidis and Cyprus. Galtieri and Malvinas/Faulklands. The war in the Ukraine disrupted/postponed the Chinese Road and Belt expansion plans, the Gaza war now disrupts/postpones a China-Saudi warming. There are more tectonic shifts at play. India under Modi has moved further away from Russia, and the Palestinians, and moved ever closer to the US and Israel. In theory a peaceful Middle East is in the best interest of the broader region but some further away apparently do not want this. Iran is playing for time for obvious reasons, and remotely controls groups in Yemen and Lebanon. Was all this carnage a ploy to draw Iran in? If so it did not work, so far at least. Egypt's military government also in a tight spot, damned if it helps its Gazan brothers (or ....brotherhood), cursed if it does not. At the same time, not too far from the war zone, billions, are being spent by the Saudis to develop tourism and more specifically NEOM, unfortunately after displacing/silencing some opposing locals. We are told time and again that Tourism is the greatest peace industry, that it supposedly needs peace, but, it cannot single handedly bring it anywhere. In fact not all forms of Tourism need peace, it is quite resilient, and even thrives in wartime - think of rest and recreation tourism in Thailand during the Vietnam war. What could be the endgame in Gaza, a division into an israeli North Gaza (to be developed for tourism, and possibly for a second Eilat-North Gaza canal competing with Suez) and an Egyptian-ruled South Gaza, if the general takes his chances? And what about the famous "two-state solution", is it still alive/feasible? There is so much hatred in this region (justified, unjustified who knows - it depends on the innumerable points of view and conflicting histories and interests) it is very hard to detect signs of intelligent and honest decision-makers. If only we could go back in time and create the state of Israel in parts of what was Western and Eastern Germany. It would only be fair, no? Back to the real world, the arrival or rather attempt to approach Gaza, by a flotilla from Turkey may end in tragedy like last time and further complicate the big chess game, a game played on the backs and graves of totally innocent children. Oh, and the UN continues to be a joke, unfortunately.
The EU Commission is proposing a Forest Monitoring Law that will plug existing gaps in the information on European forests and create a comprehensive forest knowledge base, to allow Member States, forest owners and forest managers to improve their response to growing pressures on forests and strengthen forest resilience.
Forests are an essential ally in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss, and crucial for flourishing rural areas and bioeconomy. Unfortunately, Europe's forests suffer from many different pressures, including climate change and unsustainable human activity.
Better monitoring will enable action to make forests more resistant to the cross-border threats of pests, droughts and wildfires that are exacerbated by climate change, enable new business models such as carbon farming, and support compliance with agreed EU legislation. Ultimately, it will help strengthen the capacity of forests to fulfil their multiple environmental and socio-economic functions, including their role as natural carbon sinks.
Better data, improved resilience, new economic opportunities
The monitoring framework will enable the collection and sharing of timely and comparable forest data obtained through a combination of Earth Observation technology and ground measurements. Building on existing national efforts, the framework will offer better data and knowledge for decision making and policy implementation, including more up-to-date information on natural disturbances and forest disasters across Member States.
Currently, available information on the state of forests and the use of forest resources and services is scattered and incomplete, data on EU forests is often outdated and produced using diverging definitions, resulting in significant knowledge gaps. A comprehensive monitoring system will address those inconsistencies.
The framework will help to create an integrated forest governance, by ensuring cooperation among Member States, and by encouraging them to set up long-term forest plans, taking into account all the relevant policy dimensions and the multi-functionality of forests. The proposal does not introduce new direct administrative requirements for businesses, forest owners and foresters.
The framework will bring economic benefits as it will support forest managers to market their ecosystem services, such as carbon removals, under the EU Carbon Removal Certification Framework. Based on more credible and accessible data, forest managers and forest owners will be able to develop new business opportunities that will provide additional income, while at the same time scaling up carbon farming and contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation. The new law will also support a new market for providers of digital monitoring services, including a high number of SMEs and innovative start-ups.
Finally, the proposal will support the implementation of other key legislation, such as the LULUCF Regulation, Habitats and Birds Directives, Deforestation Regulation, as well as Carbon Removal Certification, and the Nature Restoration Law once adopted by the co-legislators.
As part of its wider work under the EU Forest Strategy, the Commission also adopted today a proposal for an updated EU Forest Governance, which aims at creating a renewed, inclusive and inter-disciplinary Expert Group of Member States competent on all forest and forestry matters, reflecting all the environmental, social and economic objectives of the EU Forest Strategy.
Managing increasing pressures on forest
The proposal comes in the context of increasing pressures on forests. The Commission is publishing today a report on Forest Fires in Europe, Middle East and North Africa 2022, which shows that in 2022, nearly 900 000 ha of land was burnt in the EU, which corresponds to roughly the size of Corsica.
For the third year in a row, unprecedented wildfire events caused large environmental and economic damage in the EU and tragic loss of life. While most of the fires (96%) are caused by human actions, they are aggravated by increased fire danger conditions driven by climate change. It is a warning signal of what global warming can bring about in the coming years, as temperatures increase, and droughts become more pronounced in many European countries. The report also shows that prevention measures play an important role in reducing the frequency and impact of the forest fires, and that updated knowledge is key to ensure it.
The proposal will now be examined by the European Parliament and the Council under the ordinary legislative procedure.
Forests provide invaluable environment, climate and socio-economic benefits. They act as biodiversity hubs and habitats, provide oxygen release and air filtering, regulate waterflows, prevent erosion, and are indispensable for climate change adaptation and mitigation. They are a cornerstone of the transition to a climate-neutral Europe, the circular bioeconomy and a healthy society. According to Commission studies, the extended forest-based value chains provide raw materials such as wood, food, medical plants, cork and resin and currently support 4.5 million jobs in the EU.
However, many forests in the EU are not in a good state overall. They are suffering from biodiversity loss and are heavily affected by climate change, aggravating and cumulating other destructive pressures such as pests, pollution and disease. Climate change also leads to conditions such as long periods of drought and heat that are likely to increase the extent and intensity of forest fires in the EU in the coming years. The consequences are taking a mounting toll on forest stability and productivity, while in parallel, the demand for forest products and services is growing.
Reporting provided by Member States under the Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry (LULUCF) regulation shows that in several key areas across the European Union forests as a natural carbon sink are declining. In certain areas, forests have become a source of CO2 emissions.
To stay on track, the EU must strengthen the resilience of natural ecosystems, increase their ability to help us adapt to climate change and maintain their productive capacity to ensure lasting food and material security.
Today's initiatives and their targets rely on solutions provided by nature as our best ally in the fight against climate change. They will help the EU to deliver on climate neutrality by increasing the volume of carbon removed by natural sinks. This will also contribute to the EU upholding its international commitments under both the Paris Agreement and the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework.
[Press Release] The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), in joint collaboration with NOAH Regen, has taken a further step forward in rethinking tourism financing with the launch of the UN NetZero Facility and Re-PLANET Capital Fund Ecosystem. The launch took place on 14 November 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters, Geneva, marking a pivotal moment in the global campaign against climate change following the adoption of the Paris Agreement by 196 parties.
A new era of finance governance
The UN NetZero Facility and Re-PLANET Capital Fund Ecosystem aspire to foster a new era of global finance governance. This transformative initiative aims to unlock carbon value, incorporating concepts such as Blue Carbon and circular business models. The ecosystem is dedicated to catalysing positive change in the Blue and Green Economy sectors, transforming regeneration into not just an ecological necessity but also a profitable endeavour.
Key highlights of the framework include:
Blended Financial Ecosystem: A collaborative approach that integrates diverse funding sources, providing a solid foundation to address pressing climate challenges.
Blockchain Technology: Utilizing energy-efficient blockchain technology for transparent fund raising and transfer, ensuring real-time tracking and accountability.
Transparency and Accountability: Committed to unparalleled transparency, accountability, and auditability, ensuring the traceability of funds from inception to implementation.
Announcing the launch
The Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) Tatiana Valovaya said: “The UN NetZero Facility is designed to resonate with the 2030 Agenda which reflects the interconnectedness between human well-being and the health of the planet.”
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili says: “Tourism's transformation to low-carbon operations is our compass, let's make Net Zero our destination by 2050 - a journey for prosperity and a healthy Earth."
Frederic Degret, CEO of Noah adds: “We stand at a pivotal moment. The Re’planet Capital Fund, in compliance with Article 9 of SFDR, is not just a fund; it’s a catalyst for change, empowering investors to drive sustainable growth.”
Blended finance model
UNWTO's Multi-Partners Trust Fund, within the UN system, will offer advisory services and grants to accelerate global progress toward achieving net-zero carbon emissions. The Facility will operate on a blended finance model and is set to leverage investments to transition toward building a climate-conscious economy.
The UN NetZero Facility and Re-PLANET Capital Fund Ecosystem will address some of the most capital-intensive climate issues, such as carbon credit quality and integrity, regulatory and market dynamics, and the monetization of sovereign nature-based and carbon credits.
On World Cities Day, 55 cities join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), following their designation by UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. New cities were acknowledged for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies, and displaying innovative practices in human-centred urban planning. With the latest additions, the Network now counts 350 cities in more than one hundred countries, representing seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Art, Design, Film, Gastronomy, Literature, Media Arts and Music.
The new members of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network are:
Asaba – Film
Ashgabat – Design
Banja Luka – Music
Battambang – Gastronomy
Bissau – Music
Bolzano – Music
Bremen – Literature
Buffalo City – Literature
Bukhara – Crafts and Folk Art
Bydgoszcz – Music
Caen – Media Arts
Caracas – Music
Casablanca – Media Arts
Castelo Branco – Crafts and Folk Art
Cetinje – Design
Chaozhou – Gastronomy
Chiang Rai – Design
Chongqing – Design
Concepción – Music
Da Lat – Music
Fribourg – Gastronomy
Gangneung – Gastronomy
Granada – Design
Gwalior – Music
Herakleion – Gastronomy
Hobart – Literature
Hoi An – Crafts and Folk Art
Iasi – Literature
Iloilo City – Gastronomy
Ipoh – Music
Kathmandu – Film
Kozhikode – Literature
Kutaisi – Literature
Mexicali – Music
Montecristi – Crafts and Folk Art
Montreux – Music
Nkongsamba – Gastronomy
Novi Sad – Media Arts
Okayama – Literature
Ouarzazate – Film
Oulu – Media Arts
Penedo – Film
Rio de Janeiro – Literature
Şanlıurfa – Music
Suphanburi – Music
Surakarta – Crafts and Folk Art
Taif – Literature
Toulouse – Music
Tukums – Literature
Ulaanbaatar – Crafts and Folk Art
Umngeni Howick – Crafts and Folk Art
Valencia – Design
Varaždin – Music
Veliky Novgorod – Music
Vicente Lopez – Film
The city of Lyon, Creative City of Media Arts since 2008, has been granted a status of a Creative City of Literature, following its request to change creative field.
Newly designated cities will cooperate with Network members to strengthen their resilience the face of evolving threats such as climate change, rising inequality, as well as rapid urbanization, with 68% of the world’s population projected to live in urban areas by 2050.
“The cities in our Creative Cities Network are leading the way when it comes to enhancing access to culture and galvanizing the power of creativity for urban resilience and development,” says Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General.
An upcoming policy paper – “The added value of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network at local, national and international level” – will testify to the leading role played by cities towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, while demonstrating ways in which UNESCO supports the UCCN members by fostering dialogue, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration.
The newly designated Creative Cities are invited to participate in the 2024 UCCN Annual Conference (1 - 5 July 2024) in Braga, Portugal, under the theme “Bringing Youth to the table for the next decade”
Tourism is sustainable when it puts at the center the needs of the local communities and the environment. This is not something to aspire to but that should already be implemented in order to assure the future of travel.
Etifor, a spin-off of the University of Padova and B Corp, Ms Bosco supports destinations and organizations in the application of the sustainable tourism principles defined by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). She was involved in the development of the sustainable management system of three GSTC certified destinations in Italy: APT Valsugana e Lagorai (certified in 2019), Consorzio di Promozione Turistica del Tarvisiano, di Sella Nevea e del Passo Pramollo (2021) and the City of Siena (2023). Together with Diego Gallo, she is Etifor referent for the GSTC Italy Working Group, a recently established network of Italian GSTC members, aiming at the spread of GSTC in the national context. Other fields of work include participatory processes for destination management and tourism product development, slow tourism design and promotion. Ms Bosco recently spoke at the GSTC2023 Sustainable Tourism Conference in Antalya, Türkiye (9-12 May, 2023), an event Ecoclub.com had the great pleasure of supporting as Media Partners. You may watch a recording of her presentation here.Federica Bosco holds a MSc in Tourism Economics and Management from Bologna University, Italy. Her research interests include destination management, sustainable tourism, certification, slow tourism and climate-positive tourism. She’s motivated by the mission to make tourism a positive driver of change for communities and the environment. As Project Officer for the Tourism Programme of
Antonis Petropoulos - Ecoclub.com: What attracted you to this career and what is your personal interpretation of tourism sustainability based on your experience in the field?
Federica Bosco: My interest in tourism started because I was proud of my homeland and I was pushed by the desire to share its beauties and its heritage to others. I became aware of the need for effective management in order to make a territory hospitable, therefore I decided to deepen these concepts during my studies. Nowadays, sustainability is an essential part of management, not only in tourism, and even though we are used to associate this term with a positive meaning, we should acknowledge that it is simply the basics. Tourism is sustainable when it puts at the center the needs of the local communities and the environment. This is not something to aspire to but that should already be implemented in order to assure the future of travel.
Antonis Petropoulos - Ecoclub.com: Indeed, everyone talks about sustainability these days, with national tourism organizations editing their marketing copy to include the magic word in every other sentence. But it seems not everyone has the same thing on their minds: some really mean sustainable growth, adding eco-friendly options on top of existing ones, others mean trying to make all existing tourism green without further growth, and some point at overtourism and ask for degrowth - probably the less popular option for an industry fixated on ever-growing arrival numbers. Where do you stand on this issue?
Federica Bosco: Sustainability cannot be just about marketing, otherwise it should be called greenwashing! It is important to communicate the organizations’ efforts in minimizing their negative impacts and maximize their positive ones, while engaging stakeholders in the process. However, there must be clear commitments and actions taken by destinations and organizations to achieve the global goals that the scientific community has asked us to pursue, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that should be taken into account, not only arrivals and overnight stays.
Decolonize Conservation: Global Voices for Indigenous Self-Determination, Land, and a World in Common
by Fiore Longo and Ashley Dawson, eds., Survival International
Publisher: Common Notions
ISBN: 978-1-942173-76-2 Published: April 2023, Paperback, Pages: 256
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. In fact, this book makes a strong case, bordering on a polemic, that it is rather bad intentions, those of Big Conservation, that paves the road to hell for the Indigenous peoples. It proposes alternative conservation models fully involving the Indigenous, the traditional, wise guardians of nature, and rightful owners of what became "Protected Areas", National and Transboundary Parks. Despite centuries of displacement by colonialism, Conservation rarely takes place in a vacuum with total wilderness remaining, largely, a myth. Conservation nearly always affects indigenous and local people and should no longer take place at their detriment or without their full and informed consent and participation. This is an eye-opening book that every well-meaning supporter and employee of big conservation organizations should read. Edited by Survival International’s Fiore Longo and Ashley Dawson and written in a reader-friendly, non-technical style, it contains first-hand testimonials/horror stories and views of some 40 authors, mostly indigenous activists but also analysis by academics from 18 countries, in Africa, South Asia (predominantly India) South America, Europe and North America. Most chapters are based on presentations at the “Our Land, Our Nature” congress, which was organized by Survival International, Minority Rights Group and Rainforest Foundation UK, and held in Marseille in September 2021, during the pandemic.
The central argument of the book is more or less: Wilderness is an artificial concept, as on the one hand Humanity is not separate from Nature and on the other around half of the protected areas had been previously inhabited by indigenous people who managed them wisely. Characteristically, the world’s first park, Yosemite, was developed in the land of the Miwok people, 39 years after they had been expelled by miners. California’s empty parks, also thanks to the Climate Change, now catch fire more easily. Big Conservation is an industry, with roots in Colonial times, and like any other industry, in its neocolonial (and neoCO2lonial) form, is out to make money from the Global South. In addition, this industry is hypocritical too as it claims to save nature and communities while actually destroying them both, by displacing communities and allowing extractive activities inside protected areas. It leverages the Climate Crisis to protect vast new chunks of ‘wilderness’ (from the current `17% of the world or roughly the size of Russia, to reach 30% by 2023 under the infamous 30x30 plan ) so as to attract huge additional funding (up to $10 trillion by some estimates, little of which will reach the communities) by greenwashing (via offsets, REDD and nature-based-solutions) corporations so that the latter can go on polluting, extracting and exploiting, sometimes within the said protected area. Other funds are being generated through cooperation with the intelligence community to combat illegal wildlife trade, also a source of funding for extremist groups. In essence, the big 5 (pun intended) conservation organizations of the Anglo world, are the new “East India” and “East Africa” Companies of the colonial era, thus we have a neocolonial conservation model. As their forefathers, they went in first, then came the troops: conservation is becoming increasingly militarized, with lethal effects for indigenous and locals. In Tanzania , Malawi, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Botswana and some of India’s states, among others, there is a shoot-on-sight policy, so rangers are allowed to shoot first and ask questions later. Anyones that moves inside the forest is conveniently called a poacher, even if hunting for subsistence. In Salonga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the biggest rainforest reserve in Africa and one of the biggest in the world, there have been several “extra-judicial killings'' (a polite synonym for “murders”) of suspected “poachers”. Pastoralists are also unwanted and occasionally shot at. While agro-pastoralism is accepted in France and within Cévennes National Park (a World Heritage Site) for some reason it is not fit for Tanzania and the Maasai traditional pastures. Could this just be plain racism?