First International Conference for Amazonian Indigenous Communities for Gaining Formal and Integral Recognition of Their Ancestral Territories

April 30, 2008 | By The Pachamama Alliance

On April 11th, 2008, Fundación Pachamama received 65 representatives of 15 indigenous pueblos, 6 regional indigenous organizations, and 8 NGOs from Bolivia, Perú, Colombia and Ecuador at the first international workshop to exchange innovative experiences and proposals for reclaiming the integrity of ancestral territories among Amazonian Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities whose territories are divided by national borders. The participants include Amazonian indigenous peoples and nationalities from the trans-border regions of Ecuador-Peru, Peru-Boliva-Brasil, and Ecuador-Colombia, as well as NGO and individual allies of these indigenous communities.

The workshop’s objectives were to:

1.    facilitate a space in which these indigenous peoples and nationalities could share their experiences, methodologies, and concrete proposals for gaining formal and integral recognition of their ancestral territories, with a special eye to the particular challenges and possibilities that are borne out of having territories and communities that are divided by national (State) borders; and
2.    establish a learning network among the participants that will continue to strengthen their political, legal, and technical proposals for gaining formal and integral recognition of their territories, far beyond the four days dedicated to the workshop.

This conference marked an important stage in Fundación Pachamama’s efforts to “regionalize” its work and impact, recognizing that the actors and policies that threaten the territories of Pachamama’s indigenous partners in the South Central Ecuadorian Amazon, are similar – if not the same – as those that threaten indigenous territories throughout the Amazon Basin. These threats include extractive industries, national policies that disregard Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and regional “development” initiatives intended to “open” the Amazon basin to a “better future”. This event forms part of a larger 3-year initiative to strengthen communication, coordination, and information sharing among Amazonian indigenous peoples and nationalities, at the regional level, in favor of their ancestral territories and collective rights.

It is important to note that Fundación Pachamama has not been working alone. Since August 2007, Pachamama has been working with an Organizing Committee to develop the event. The Committee includes representatives from two Peruvian NGOs – Racimos de Ungurahui and Shinai – and the Binational Coordinating Body of the Achuar Nationality from Ecuador and Peru (COBNAEP, according to its Spanish name).

For more information on the Event, please visit... (in Spanish):