COICA–AMPB Partnership Strengthens on the Road to COP 21
COICA and the AMPB, representing indigenous organizations of the Amazon basin and Mesoamerica respectively, developed and implemented a unified agenda during their participation in COP 21. COICA and AMPB, which form part of the AIME FBLC, identified four priority objectives for COP 21:
- Territorial rights for indigenous people;
- Free prior informed consent;
- Climate funds for indigenous people;
- “No!” to the criminalization and persecution of indigenous leaders.
Both organizations also agreed to work together to strengthen their collaboration with the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) and, in so doing, actively participate in jurisdictional REDD+ processes and promote indigenous interests at sub-national levels. Both COICA and AMPB participated in several keynote panels during the GCF annual meeting in Barcelona, a demonstration of the commitment of GCF member states to take the interests of local communities into account when developing regional low-emission rural development policies, including REDD+. For their part, COICA and AMPB posted public declarations of support to the GCF, demonstrating indigenous peoples and traditional communities' willingness to engage in a more trusting relationship with GCF member states. Click here to read COICA’s statement and click here to read the AMPB’s coverage of the emerging collaboration with the GCF.
Sustainable Gastronomy: A new key to valuing Amazon biodiversity
The Amazon´s forests, lands and waters have, for millennia, provided a diverse cornucopia of food and ingredients that have transformed biodiversity into a gastronomic pleasure - from a log fire in the jungle to some of the best restaurants in the world.
In recent years there has been renewed interest in valuing this culinary diversity. Renowned restaurants and chefs around the region have elevated it to the highest international circles, placing a spotlight on the central role of local producers and the natural ecosystems where their products originate. International markets have also had notable successes in promoting Amazon ingredients in products from the US brands Sambazon (acai) and Runa (guayusa).
Increasing awareness and consumption of sustainable Amazon foods, and improving value chains can benefit local producers and contribute to the conservation of forests.
Forest Trends, in partnership with renowned Peruvian chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, and Canopy Bridge hosted a gathering of thought leaders from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for the Amazon and the belief that food and gastronomy can change the world. Together, participants designed strategies to expand the awareness and overall impact of gastronomy based on sustainable sourcing from the Amazon’s rich pantry.
On November 12-16, a small high-level meeting brought together a select group of approximately 30 people including chefs, entrepreneurs, investors, producers, journalists and scientists. The event, in the Pacaya Samiria Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon, focused on developing strategies for sustainable harvests and identifying opportunities for investment and action. The event defined shared principles, spurring a movement that leverages the interest of gastronomy and specialty food markets to benefit conservation and local communities.
USAID support, under the AIME project, complemented funding from other donors (Blue Moon Fund and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation) to allow FBLC partners Forest Trends and EcoDecision to follow up on recommendations that emerged from the meeting to craft a strategy for sustainable Amazon gastronomy and support the development of REDD-compatible opportunities.
AIME’s Jurisdictional Work Ramps Up
As part of ambitious efforts to keep more than five billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere through rainforest and savanna woodland conservation, while incorporating the smallholder into the process, Dan Nepstad of Earth Innovation Institute addressed environment ministers from Norway and Brazil in Cuiabá, Brazil on September 17th in a meeting convened by Mato Grosso Governor Pedro Taques.
Nepstad is the lead of the AIME program’s jurisdictional component. According to the Earth Innovation Institute, the meeting marked the beginning of an intense and important process to finalize a state-wide plan for slowing deforestation, implementing the Forest Code, and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers by the COP 21 Paris Climate Summit in December.
In November the FBLC met in San Francisco, California, to further define AIME’s jurisdictional strategy and decide on specific jurisdictions of focus for the next three years of the AIME program. Among these focus jurisdictions are four subnational jurisdictions (Acre, Chiapas, Mato Grosso, and Rondônia) and three national jurisdictions (Peru, Colombia and Honduras). The FBLC is currently developing jurisdiction-specific strategies to influence the inclusion of indigenous peoples’ territorial rights in each of these regions, including a baseline assessment of indigenous peoples’ needs in the State of Mato Grosso.
A Meeting of Knowledges: Life Plans for Indigenous Communities
Life Plans are a relatively recent development, having emerged in the 1990s in Colombia, but they have become a critical tool for indigenous autonomy and territorial governance, especially in the Amazon. There is consensus among indigenous peoples that these plans should be implemented as the framework for their survival and their relationship with outside actors, particularly the state. As such, Life Plans should also be the starting point for any REDD+, Forest Conservation or Low-Emissions Rural development project that a given community wants to undertake.
In order to deepen the conceptual and methodological discussion on life plans, as well as to compile the visions and experiences of diverse indigenous groups with Life Plan developments, 50 participants from indigenous organizations in the Amazon Basin and Mesoamerica met in Pachacamac (near Lima, Peru) from March 3 – 5, 2015. The participants also included a small group of technical experts from NGOs assembled by AIME, COICA and ICAA.
During the workshop, participants discussed previous experiences, identified lessons learned, and developed best practices for Life Plan development. They also identified the most critical aspects of Life Plans that still need further exploration and validation in future experiences. The presentations, discussions and debates were collected in an aide-memoire prepared by Rodrigo Arce. Two videos, “Life Plan, a Meeting of Knowledges,” and “Life Plan, Good Living and Territorial Governance,” were produced by Rodrigo Duran.
As a result of the workshop, several AIME partners have initiated new Life Plan development experiences:
- PRISMA, with AMPB and Costa Rica’s Bribri and Cabecar Indigenous Network (RIBCA), are developing Life Plans in the Indigenous territories of Tayni and Bajo Chirripó in Talamanca, Costa Rica.
- Pronatura Sur will accompany three communities in developing and implementing their Life Plans on the coast of Chiapas.
Workshop attendees also proposed a potential training course for indigenous facilitators in Life Plan development. As a result, AIME is designing specific curricular and methodological content for a Life Plan module within the Indigenous Land Management Course the consortium is developing.
Cultural Mediators (Mediadores Culturales) in the State of Acre
Indigenous groups have delivered oversized benefits to the environment through their traditional sustainable practices and forest protection and last spring, AIME took time to recognize this contribution with a workshop training indigenous cultural mediators. Held in Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil, from March 16th- 20th, the training of indigenous cultural mediators on Climate Change and Forestry received support from SITOAKORE, a local indigenous organization, and the Federal University of Acre (UFAC).
With twenty-four attendees from five different indigenous groups in the state of Acre (Ashaninka, Kashinawá, Jaminawa, Yawanawá and Apurinã), the workshop addressed the importance of forest conservation for climate change mitigation and the significant role indigenous peoples play. Indigenous cultural mediators are trained to understand and discuss technical concepts such as climate change mitigation, benefit sharing, REDD+ policies, and more, to their local indigenous communities. Often these concepts do not easily jibe with local traditional knowledge and worldviews of indigenous people. So, the idea is for these mediators to facilitate between technical and indigenous knowledge, enabling a greater understanding of such concepts and allowing for more productive engagement with decision makers over their rights and concerns.
For example, the workshop emphasized that effective community consultation is a fundamental right of indigenous communities in any decision-making process related to REDD+ along with other compensation mechanisms for environmental services in their territories. As this initiative enters a second phase, it will emphasize teaching climate change and forest conservation within indigenous schools. In response to feedback received from the communities, AIME will aim to integrate these topics into the curriculum, require teachers to receive appropriate corresponding training, and produce culturally relevant pedagogical materials to be used in schools and the community.
Metareila Strengthens Surui Handicrafts Initiative and Plans for Cacao Production in 2016
Metareila’s network of handicraft producers has now reached 150 women, with store sales continuing to grow and the women continuing to strengthen the handicraft initiative’s business and production model through internal workshops. Metareila has also prepared the ground work for planning native cocoa harvests in the Sete de Setembro indigenous territory during 2016. They conducted training to facilitate agricultural production, and identified important (likely native) varieties of cacao that grow under the forest canopy and which may be quite valuable in global markets. The network reached an agreement, in principle, with an European buyer to deliver native cacao in 2016.
Read more about the ecological and financial value of wild, native varieties of fine Cacao, made possible through generations of indigenous environmental and cultural stewardship, in this blog post from Ecodecision.
Masta is one of Eight Organizations to Win 2015 Equator Prize
Masta (Miskitu Asla Takanka), the Honduran Miskito organization which is a member of the AMPB, was awarded a 2015 “Equator Prize” for its outstanding work in defense of indigenous territories against palm oil companies, oil companies and drug traffickers.
In all, 21 indigenous initiatives were recognized with the prestigious award by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) out of 1,461 initiatives that were submitted from 126 countries around the world.
The prize consisted of USD$10,000 for each awardee during the COP 21 in Paris, France.
Peru: San Martin and Madre de Dios Workshop/Fair/Tour (EDF with COICA, Ecodecision, and FT); Week of September 21 (Madre de Dios) and 28th (San Martin), 2015: This event brought together buyers and financiers of agroforestry products to meet Indigenous organizations and smallholder producers to create new and additional financial contracts while also exploring different business models/agreement structures between private sector entities, smallholder producers and Indigenous groups, and within Indigenous territories’ political and economic entities.
Voluntary certification systems and indigenous enterprises Webinar (EcoDecision and Forest Trends); September 2015: A webinar with a panel of experts and local experiences exploring the pros and cons of different voluntary certification systems (e.g., organic, fair trade, FSC) for indigenous producer associations.
Encontro de Corredores Etnoambientais (IPAM, Metareila, Forest Trends), Metareilá Training Center Cacoal, Rondônia; September 9-11: A workshop with indigenous people from Rondônia about environmental services and existing initiatives (both in terms of public policies and specific projects) as they relate to indigenous people and the management of their territories. This even also marked the launch of the Tupi Monde Manual, a publication supported by the IKEA Foundation, which supports/co-funds AIME activities.
Territorial Finance Workshop (PRISMA, AMPB), San Salvador, El Salvador; October 2015: This workshop brought together experts on territorial finance with forest communities and indigenous peoples to identify key next steps and design options for the development of territorial financing in the Amazon and Mesoamerica. Attendees discussed early experiences that could be expanded on at a global scale.