An Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) is an area of land and/or sea that Traditional Owners have dedicated or declared as a protected area, recognised by the Australian, state and territory governments and managed for its cultural and natural values according to customary laws and practices, independently of legislation and in line with guidelines of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The IUCN defines a protected area as:
A clearly defined geographical space, recognised, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values.
In Australia, the planning and management of IPAs are supported by the Australian Government’s IPA Program, with additional support from a variety of other sources, including state and territory conservation agencies, commercial enterprises, research institutions, non-government conservation groups and philanthropic organisations.
The IPA Program commenced in the late 1990s when the Australian Government wanted to establish protected areas in all Australian bioregions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples wanted ongoing support to management their traditional lands and water.
In 1997 at a national workshop to develop the IPA concept, Indigenous representatives drafted the following definition of an IPA:
An Indigenous Protected Area is governed by the continuing responsibilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to care for and protect lands and waters for present and future generations.
Indigenous Protected Areas may include areas of land and waters over which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are custodians, and which shall be managed for cultural biodiversity and conservation, permitting customary sustainable resource use and sharing of benefit.
This definition includes land that is within the existing conservation estate, that is or has the ability to be cooperatively managed by the current management agency and the traditional owners.
The Mandingalbay Yidinji IPA includes part or all of these existing government-declared protected areas within the IPAs boundary:
The legal means for managing the IPA include:
The other effective means for managing the IPA include:
For more details on the MY IPA click on the different squares in the picture above. You can also download the detailed version of the picture as a poster, or the Department of Environment Fact Sheet, by clicking on the pictures below:
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