Secrétariat for the Convention of Biodiversity
Indigenous Communities, Tourism and Biodiversity Workshop Series : New Information and Web Based Technologies
Arctic Workshop in Quebec, Canada
In a Canadian provincial park setting, 21 Arctic indigenous tourism operators and executives of tourism associations worked with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and with local NGOs and government officers to improve the way their websites address biodiversity. A 3-day workshop was set up in Duchesnay Tourist Station in Quebec in November 2007, in partnership with Carleton University, with whom the Secretariat has a Memorandum of Understanding, and with the financial support of the Governments of Canada and Spain.
Participants came from Canada (five Northern provinces and territories), the Russian Federation, the United States, Finland, Sweden, and the International Ecotourism Society.
It was the first of a series of workshops that will assist indigenous communities in various regions of the world to use web-based technologies to better market their tourism products while managing their biodiversity resources in a sustainable way.
Tools such as the CBD Guidelines on Biodiversity and Tourism Development, the CBD Traditional Knowledge portal, the Akwé:Kon guidelines and various Web-2 resources were shown, discussed and adapted by participants, with a view to improving their websites and their capacity to reflect traditional ways in conserving indigenous land, and to allow potential visitors and clients to learn about indigenous practices and cultures.
The first workshop focused on the Arctic region in recognition of 2007 as the International Polar Year, and considered the distinct challenges of remote rural Arctic destinations. Additional workshops will build on lessons learned and methodologies developed in Quebec, and will take place in Latin America, Africa, the Pacific and South-East Asia, with a focus on forest basins, islands, mountains, and dry and sub-humid areas.
Participants are working on line at evaluating their websites. Participants worked with individual computers in small groups to examine existing reference websites, and exchange lessons learned on their own website development and management practices. To facilitate the exchange of experiences, participants produced quality indicators in three important areas : biodiversity, e-marketing and technological tools. Those indicators were then used in a self-assessment of their websites. Based on these self-assessments, participants worked on a plan to enhance their websites.
Two researchers from Carleton University (Dr. Jacques Chevalier and Dr. Sylvie Blangy, seconded from Montpellier University) and Olivier Pessin (as technical resource person) acted as facilitators and developed methodologies and techniques specifically for indigenous people of the Arctic region, using aboriginal design templates and socialization techniques based on the Social Analysis System (SAS2 – visit http://www.sas2.net/index.php ?page=en for more information).
Participants using “The Wheel” to assess their web sites The resulting toolbox for indigenous communities to design and manage their tourism websites in support of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity was incorporated into a “Wheel” design. It includes :
(a) A list of functions of tourism websites, with examples from indigenous products ; (b) Evaluation checklists for the effectiveness of websites in promoting and supporting cultural and biological diversity and in marketing indigenous sustainable tourism products (quality criteria refer to links to Mother Earth, use of indigenous languages, etc) ; (c) Technological tools to enhance the capacities of indigenous tourism websites (d) E-Marketing techniques.
The workshop materials, including the results of the participant’s survey, techniques used, the presentations and the final report are available on the CBD Biodiversity and Tourism Network at : http://tourism.cbd.int/events.shtm. For additional materials, please contact Sylvie at .
Outcomes will be transmitted to the ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the CBD in Bonn, Germany, from 19 to 30 May 2008, as well as the sixth meeting of the ad hoc open-ended Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions, scheduled for 2009. For more information, contact .