Ground-breaking conference on decolonizing conservation comes to New York

April 6, 2023

Still from a video showing police firing indiscriminately on Maasai protesters in Loliondo, Tanzania. © Survival

A unique conference that aims to change the thinking around mainstream conservation and advocate for an alternative approach based on Indigenous rights is coming to New York.

When: Friday, April 14th 2023
Where: New York City: Center for Undergraduate Studies at City University New York. And online.
Free registration:

Protest: Saturday, Apr 15, 2023, 12 noon
Where: Bronx Zoo

The conference will be a rare opportunity to hear from Indigenous people on the frontlines of “fortress conservation”, such as Maasai and Batwa representatives, as well as other experts and academics.

The conservation industry’s bid to create more “Protected Areas,” and greenwashing claims that “Nature Based Solutions” like carbon credits will solve biodiversity loss and climate change, are wrong.

This conference will expose these as colonial and false solutions to the crises we are facing today, and as approaches that devastate the best guardians of the natural world: the Indigenous peoples who safeguard 80% of biodiversity.

The proceedings of the first such conference, held in Marseille, France, in 2021, will be published on April 25 by Common Notions, and launched at the New York event.

On April 15 at 12 noon those attending the conference and members of the public are invited to a protest at the Bronx Zoo. The zoo is run by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), one of the world’s oldest conservation organizations, with a long history of complicity in human rights abuses in the name of conservation. 

The WCS is a key funder of Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Kahuzi-Biega, park rangers, together with the Congolese military, have committed a series of horrific atrocities against the Indigenous Batwa people whose lands were stolen to create the park. 

WCS shamelessly pushes false solutions for biodiversity protection (like more Protected Areas), while promoting a conservation system that results in the eviction, rape, torture and killing of Indigenous people.

For more information, please contact [email protected].