A mountain community wants a community conserved area and not a military landgrab: the case of Sinjajevina (Montenegro)

A mountain community wants a community conserved area and not a military landgrab: the case of Sinjajevina (Montenegro)

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Sinjajevina (Montenegro)

Pastoral Commons are evolving pasturelands conserved by mountain communities through dynamic and adaptive governance systems that ensure the sustainable use of natural resources. Grassroots organizations from all over the world are well aware of their socio-economic and environmental values of such commons, as are important international organizations, such as the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP).

Despite this, the mountain communities and their pastoral commons are too often un-recognized and alienated by their own State governments and by other powerful international actors. An emblematic example is Sinjajevina (Montenegro)— one of the largest communal pastureland in the Balkans and in Europe. Sinjajevina has recently been ‘declared’ a NATO military training and bombing ground… regardless of the lack of consent and actual strong contrary opinion of its custodian communities. But the custodian communities want to continue to use their pasturelands and live in Sinjajevina during the summer months. They have thus created Save Sinjajevina— a ‘movement organization’ to halt the military plans and insist on developing a positive alternative for their territory.

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