Our projects in Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, and Peru support land protection and monitoring; right to water; and natural resource management.
Indigenous Rights Defenders: Indigenous Youth Using Legal and Other Tools in Support of Traditional Rights – Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia (ECAM)
The Rainforest Fund has promoted the creation of the Indigenous Rights Defenders program at a time when governments, especially in Brazil, have targeted Indigenous Peoples’ rights which were acquired in the past through constant struggles.
The focus of this project is to implement an Indigenous Rights Defenders program which will be led by the Equipe de Conservacao de Amazonia. The program will involve 4 Indigenous communities: the Tembe, the Wai Wai, the Surui and Cinta Larga communities, and a fifth, the neighboring Afro-descendant communities, the Quilimbolas from the Southwestern Amazon; in this very crucial moment in response to the current context of severe regression in Indigenous and traditional communities’ rights.
The Bribri of Saltire and the Defense of their Ancestral and Legal Rights – Consejo Ditsö Iriria Ajkönuk Wakpa del Territorio Bribri de Saltire
The Bribri Indigenous People have been successful in their move to alert the UN Special Rapporteur on their situation in asking the application of national laws and for non-Indigenous Peoples to be expelled from their territory.
The initiatives in the courts asking the State to implement the ILO Convention 169, with all the follow-up on more the than 50 legal cases, and presenting their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights will be the project’s focus for this year in asserting the Bribri’s rights.
The Territorial Defense Initiative – Ceibo Alianza (Ceibo Alliance)
The project is presented by the Ceibo Alianza, an Indigenous-led association which was the result of Rainforest Fund’s support to give clean water to the Ecuadorian Indigenous communities impacted by oil contamination, and the new Indigenous Rights Defenders program. This year, the project has five components: leadership, capacity-building and legal formation; demanding protection physical and cultural extinction; reclaiming sacred lands and uniting the Secoya Nation; protecting Indigenous land from invasion, contamination, and poaching; and using territorial maps to defend 2.5 million acres of ancestral rainforest territory.
Furthermore, this year the work will expand outside Ecuador to support their cross-border communities, integrating Indigenous Rights Defenders from Colombia and Peru.
North Pakaraimas District Council, Patamona/Macushi Territorial Claim – North Pakaraimas District Council
This new project is located in Paramakatoi, situated in the North Pakaraimas, a mountain range in Western Guyana that has been the land of Patamona and Macushi peoples since time immemorial. Nine Indigenous communities are vulnerable to a range of threats: expansion of gold and diamond mining, forest concessions, mega-farms, and national parks expansion; all with dire consequences for the peoples, their rights, and the economic scarcity.
However, the country’s new government recently seems to be more open to Indigenous issues. There is a window open and the Amerindian peoples want to use this opportunity to ask for the titling of their territories.
Titling Tagarkunyal Ancestral Lands – Congreso General del Territorio Ancestral Tule de Tagarkunyal
The Tula territory, the ancestral land of the Guna people, has not been recognized by the government of Panama.
This project aims at invoking the Law 72/2008 for the titling of their collective land, and preparing a proposal for the title through GIS technology.
‘Forestlink’: Real-time Monitoring to Empower Indigenous Peoples to Protect the Amazon Rainforest – Federación Nativa del Río Madre de Dios y Afluentes (FENAMAD) & Federación Quechua del Rio Pastaza (FEDIQUEP)
Forestlink is a real-time monitoring system developed to protect the forest from illegal logging and mining, and aims at consolidating the system in Peru’s Madre de Dios region with regional and national Indigenous partners. This tool has been an asset as communities are now informed quicker about the issues happening on their land, and are better equipped to address them in due time. A more recent focus has been to strengthen the community, not just on how to use the system, but also how to deal with the various situations they may face.
Strengthening of ORPIO to Face Threats to Territorial Rights – AIDESEP Regional Organization of the People of the Eastern Amazon (ORPIO)
2018 is our first year working on this project which aims to strengthen the Regional Organization of the People of the Eastern Amazon (ORPIO). ORPIO is focusing on advocating for the land rights of the Indigenous People of Loreto, Peru by developing a technological center to monitor and respond to communities that are at risk to illegal logging, usurpation of territory, and coca growing. The Organization will also be developing an analysis looking at a potential road that will go through the Loreto community in the Peruvian Amazon.
Funding for Extended Studies – Niños de la Amazonia
In 2011, the Rainforest Fund partnered with the Niños de la Amazonia organization to help six Indigenous children from the Peruvian Amazon follow their dreams and support their community. For each ‘Niño’, the years since this project have been full of growth, opportunity, development, and maturation; all pursuing their own, unique paths. This year, the second ‘Niño’ will be graduating from university with a degree in business administration and, to have more job opportunities, Rainforest Fund is supporting him with English classes. Through his access to university-level education and a better job, he can have a greater impact on his community in the Amazon.