Co-Existing Cultural and Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a Field of Resource Conflict

Felber, Selina (26 October 2021). Co-Existing Cultural and Natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites as a Field of Resource Conflict (Unpublished). In: Anthropology and Conservation Conference. Online. 25. - 29. Oktober 2021.

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The Niokolo-Koba National Park covers almost 1 million ha and is located along the Gambia River. It contains all the unique ecosystems of the Sudanese bioclimatic zone and was therefore recognized by UNESCO in 1981. It was later added to the list of World Heritage in Danger with poaching being a major factor. This created a conflict of interests between different actors. The Bedik living on the park’s periphery were not directly affected by eviction due to conservation purposes but remain subject to natural resource management restrictions. Despite the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture, bushmeat remains an important protein source and contributes to local food security. Furthermore, hunting has been shown to be an important component of various traditional festivities, which is a criterion for inclusion of the Bedik cultural landscape in the World Heritage List. This highlights the difficulty of a conflict-free coexistence of the two World Heritage Sites. Exclusion of the local community from natural resource management despite their respectful and sustainable interaction with a vulnerable environment, as highlighted by UNESCO, complicates the coexistence. Moreover, there is a lack of comprehensive information on park legislation, including natural resource access rights. This opens up an opportunity for corruption which fosters insecurity among communities about their rights. Consequences may be a criminal behavior out of necessity or unconscientiousness and impacts on the social capital. Based on this paradoxical scenario the study focuses on transitions on the local food system and their impacts on food security and food culture.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Felber, Selina Chiara


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Anja Julienne Wohlgemuth

Date Deposited:

21 Apr 2022 07:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:17

Additional Information:

Panel: Conservation initiatives and the impacts on food systems, food security, resilience and gender.
Désirée Gmür (University of Bern)
Babatunde Owolodun (Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute)
Selina Felber (Institute of Social Anthropology University of Bern)


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