Indigenous leaders commit to protecting the Amazonian forests
With 70 million hectares of forests, Peru ranks eighth country in forest area in the world, and second in Amazon area. It is a refuge for a unique biodiversity, provides water and countless resources, regulates the global climate and is home to over 50 indigenous communities, as well as to the last indigenous people in voluntary isolation and initial contact.
Regardless, in Peru, the change in land use to dedicate it to agriculture is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Likewise, illegal mining has become one of the greatest threats to the Amazonian forests. It deforests, erodes soils, pollutes the water and completely eradicates the course of the rivers, besides promoting the criminal economy. According to experts, the least deforested areas are found within indigenous territories, therefore, their territorial security is an excellent strategy for forest conservation. After all, only 8% of indigenous lands suffer from deforestation.
In order to facilitate tools for the management and empowerment of indigenous leaders, the Territorial Governance Training Program was created two years ago, aimed at members of indigenous peoples in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It lasts twelve months, has an innovative and collective design and includes, a training practices approach. Some of the topics covered are: territorial and community governance, indigenous law and economics, monitoring and surveillance of their lands, and climate change.
"To date more than 60 people have participated in the program, our great goal is to strengthen the capacities of more members of indigenous peoples, and empower representative leaders to generate a multiplier effect, and thus contribute to the protection of their Amazonian territories. The main objective of this program is to provide them with tools to face threats from their indigenous territories, generate political advocacy to improve dialogue with the Peruvian State and ensure respect and recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, "said Alonso Cordova, Coordinator of the Training Program for WWF Peru.
At the same time, this program has an integrative and participative purpose, as it includes the participation of women, young people and the elderly (carriers of traditional knowledge), who are not usually involved in these opportunities. In this second edition of the program, implemented in partnership with the National Intercultural University of the Central Selva and the Regional Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Central Selva, 32 students from Satipo, Junin are participating.
“In this program I am learning new experiences, different from those I knew as a leader of my community. By practicing, and with the guidance of teachers, we are strengthening our knowledge of territorial governance and during the second module we will go to our communities to replicate what we have learned, "said Freddy Gerónimo Chumpate, leader of the Nomatsiguenga native community of Cubantia.
This initiative, which has been designed by Forest Trends, includes indigenous organizations such as AIDESEP, university allies and WWF, and is funded by NORAD.