Moskitia Titling in Honduras: A Historic Achievement
After decades of struggle to obtain titles to their ancestral lands in La Moskitia, Honduras, 12 territorial councils became the legal stewards of 1 million hectares. This historic move was backed by President Juan Orlando Hernández and occurred at the end of March.
This is the largest continuous area of forest found in Honduras and it forms part of the Mesoamerican biological corridor, a key ecosystem in Mesoamerica. The management of the Miskitu indigenous territories will be carried out by the Instituto de Conservación Forestal (ICF) and the Miskitu organization MASTA (Miskitu Asla Takanka).
Insights on how to manage this unique ecosystem can be obtained from the work of the Programa Regional de Investigación sobre Desarrollo y Medio Ambiente (PRISMA) and the Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques (AMPB), both member organizations of the AIME Program. For several years, PRISMA has been studying the Moskitia territory, documenting the stakeholders, their interests in the region, and the ongoing territorial government processes and the role jurisdictional REDD could play in achieving these aims. This study will provide crucial input for the development of life plans, jurisdictional REDD strategies, and territorial climate finance opportunities.
Jurisdictional REDD can be a sustainable economic opportunity for the Miskitu; but the local people must set the guidelines. Moreover, opportunities for grassroots organizations to build capacity and to coordinate with the appropriate authorities, and different jurisdictional REDD approaches should be promoted.
Land tenure is one of the most important conditions for indigenous communities to manage their territories, secure their rights, and improve their wellbeing. Now that the Miskitu people have legal ownership of their lands, they are working towards improving education, health and livelihoods. Some of those activities include:
- Creating spaces for dialogue between MASTA and government authorities to discuss the future of outsiders inside La Moskitia and Gracias a Dios, and government enforcement and support to defend land titles. These dialogs include the participation of ICF, prosecutors, army and police. By increasing communication among these actors, a system for responding to violations can be established.
- Community forestry as a productive territorial strategy: In the region, there are experienced Miskitu people who already comply with several standards. Such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for the palm and cedar management. Moreover, the infrastructure and resources needed to produce sustainable products is also present.
Land tenure is a groundbreaking achievement for the indigenous peoples of Honduras; it is the first step towards preserving the lands and cultures of traditional communities.
Environmental Philanthropy: Sustainable Investments
Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar winning actor and environmentalist recently invested in Runa, becoming part of the advisory board of the Ecuadorian company. Runa beverages – teas and energy drinks - are made from the guayusa tealeaf from the Amazon, which is sustainably produced by 3,000 indigenous farms in Napo, Pastaza and Orellana Provinces.
Runa, funded in 2009 by Tylet Gage and Dan MacCobie, is one of the fastest-growing beverage brands in the United States.
This is not the first time a celebrity has invested in the company. DiCaprio joined Channing Tatum, Adam Rodriguez and Marlon Wayans in this initiative, but he took a step further by committing to donate his shares to AIME partner Coordinating Organization of the Indigenous People of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which means that they will be direct shareholders. You can read more here.
Canopy Bridge Webinar: Strategies for Successful Participation in International Fairs
June 16, 2016
Canopy Bridge and Forest Trends hosted the third informational webinar in the Forest Economies series, with experienced panelists from Candela Perú and Kiwa Life. International fairs can bring many opportunities for small and medium scale producers, who are looking to make connections with buyers abroad, but these fairs can also pose many challenges. Producers from Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Peru, the UK, and Venezuela among others learned about:
- The 100:10:2 ratio, strive for making 100 new contacts, 10 truly interested connections, and 2 concrete deals
- The role of certifications in selling products in trade fairs and their respective challenges
- How to follow up and make deals after the fair
- Patience is key! While these events are a great way to make connections, producers should expect to see results around the third year of participating in international fairs
To read more about the lessons learned during this webinar check out Canopy Bridge’s blog.
Indigenous Territorial Governance Training Program: Design Workshop
San Cristobal de las Casas, May 2-4
Through its years of work, the AIME consortium has laid the groundwork for the implementation of an indigenous territorial governance training program. This training is designed to create a critical mass to solve concrete governance problems in specific territories, hoping it will expand into communities inside those territories and other places in those countries.
Forest Trends assembled a workgroup to design a training program that could be implemented in Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. During this second workshop, many of the pedagogic, thematic, budgetary and operative matters that need to be addressed in order to move forward were discussed. Also during the workshop, participants identified the particular realities of each country and how this can negatively or positively affect the implementation of a training program.
Gender, Generations and Territorial Governance Workshop
San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, April 27 - 29
In indigenous territories and elsewhere, knowledge of ecosystems, management practices and priorities for decision-making are differentiated by gender and age.
These topics were explored in a three-day workshop, attended by representatives from the FBLC, which included indigenous organizations, research centers, and NGOs. The event was led by Dr. Susan Paulson from the University of Florida, and was centered on three main issues:
- Defining “territory”, “gender”, “climate change” and “governance”
- Consolidating a holistic analytical system that comprises of resources, activities, physical and social spaces, and governance
- Reflecting on the experiences of each participant
Participants concluded that the concept of “territory” is not just a biophysical place but also a nexus between social and ecological aspects, and it is constantly being influenced by power relationships.
II Seminar of Sustainable Development in Indigenous Territories
Porto Velho, RO, April 19-20, 2016
The Secretary of Environment and Development (SEDAM its acronym in Portuguese) organized this event with the participation of indigenous peoples. The aim is to integrate indigenous voices in the process of building a climate change law for the state of Rondonia. The topics discussed included: sustainable development plans and indigenous rights, creating ethno-zoning on indigenous lands, experiences on implementing territorial management plans for indigenous lands. Forest Trends and the Amazon Institute for Environmental Research (IPAM by its acronym in Portuguese), were present and collaborated with SEDAM to contribute to the government’s strategy, mobilize indigenous peoples and to create awareness on the opportunities and existing challenges in creating a climate change policy.
COICA, Metareilá, and AMPB, February–March 2016
The workshop “Strengthening of institutional management with emphasis on institutional planning, monitoring and assessment systems” was led by Richard Vaca, a forest engineer specialized in institutional planning and assessment, along with Amanda Jorgenson, Forest Trends´ AIME Program Manager.
The training focused on reinforcing the capacity of the leaders and technical staff of COICA, Metareilá, and AMPB to manage internal organizational demands to meet their work-plan objectives and activities under AIME.
These workshops were tailored to the specific needs of the organizations.
Territorial Monitoring and Vigilance Workshop
Petén, Guatemala, August 18–20 2015
This workshop, organized by ACOFOP, the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests, Forest Trends and PRISMA, generated an exchange of experience between indigenous organizations and local communities from Latin America that have established control and surveillance systems and mechanisms to protect their territories.
Innovations in field techniques to detect land invasion, using human and/or technological resources, and the need to find new ways to obtain resources to implement these forest controls and surveillance techniques were some of the relevant topics discussed.
All the documents presented during the workshop can be found here. You can learn more about territorial surveillance and other community initiatives by watching the video below, a product of the workshop, which is the first in a series that will be available on the Forest Trends YouTube channel.
Strengthening Capacities and Governance Structures from Territorial Authorities to Manage Climate Change
San Salvador, Salvador, October 21-22, 2015
Organized by PRISMA, Forest Trends and AMPB
This event aimed to improve decision makers’ understanding of territorial finance options inside indigenous and forest communities. Among those attending the workshop were AMPB territorial authorities and members, cooperation agencies, finance experts and leaders with experience in territorial finance mechanisms in South America.
During the event, there were three panels: 1) Finance challenges and options 2) Finance experiences for territorial governance, and 3) Territorial governance and finance experiences in Mesoamerica.
Through this workshop, territorial authorities and partners concluded that a Mesoamerican Fund would improve efforts for territorial consolidation and forest protection.