Pachamama’s Indigenous Territorial Program Makes Advances

May 31, 2008 | By The Pachamama Alliance

During the last month, Pachamama’s Ecuadorian operation, Fundacion Pachamama and their Territorial Management staff have been working hard with three indigenous nationalities to title and manage their ancestral territories.

Specifially, Fundación Pachamama worked with the Independent Shuar Federation (FIPSE) to move forward the development of its Integrated Land Management Plan. This Plan is being developed in four Shuar Associations as an effort to generate information and consensus among their members for establishing criteria for the sustainable management of their collective territory. The most obvious threat to their territory currently is the fast-approaching Macas-Makuma-Taisha road, which is transecting their communities and territories. For many indigenous communities, roads represent a mixed blessing, given that they bring both benefits and mostly negative impacts. Fundación Pachamama is working with FIPSE and the four associations to zone their lands and establish internal by-laws that will help the communities make sound decisions as new “outside” actors arrive on the road and begin to influence local decision-making and land-use processes.  Such zoning will include Community Conservation Areas, as well as productive and forestry (timber) zones, based on environmental, social and cultural criteria for sustainability.

In May, Fundación Pachamama facilitated the first of three workshops in the four Shuar associations that will take place this year.

Fundación Pachamama has also dedicated lots of time to accompanying the Achuar, Shiwiar and Shuar in their territorial titling processes. Most notably, the Shiwiar (NASHIE – Nacionalidad Shiwiar del Ecuador) obtained title to an area of their territory covering 135,188.83 hectares. This title recognizes the last portion of the Shiwiar territory to gain formal recognition from the State. It also represents an important step in their push to “reconstitute” their territory, i.e. combining the two titles that cover their territory into a single “global” title under the name of NASHIE.

This same process of “territorial reconstitution” is underway in the Achuar and Shuar territories, accompanied by Fundación Pachamama’s territorial staff.