Update on the Sacred Headwaters Project so Far in 2017

April 21, 2017 | By The Pachamama Alliance

achuar1.jpgAt the end of 2016 we launched the development phase of a project in partnership with other organizations to secure permanent protection for the Sacred Headwaters region of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador and Peru. Since then, we’ve been working with other organizations to further develop the plan.

In March of 2017, Pachamama Alliance CEO, Bill Twist travelled to Ecuador to meet with key members of the founding organizations—Belen Paez, Pachamama Alliance’s director in Ecuador; Atossa Soltani and Kevin Koenig from Amazon Watch; and Juan Auz, Ecuadorian legal advisor to the project.

Next steps in the 2-year development phase of the project are now underway and the following are a few updates on what we’ve been working on:

Domingo Peas and Milton Callera, two members of the Achuar Nation, were hired as coordinators on the project to work directly with indigenous groups in the Ecuadorian Amazon through the organization, CONFENIAE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon). They and CONFENIAE are currently organizing and conducting a series of meetings with indigenous communities throughout Ecuador’s Amazon region to promote this project.

CONFENIAE presented the project to COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin) and they are very interested in supporting the project as a model that has potential to be expanded to other areas. One key next step is to begin working with CONFENIAE’s counterpart organization in Peru—AIDESEP (Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest) and to begin to develop strategies for co-creating the project with the indigenous communities of the northern Amazon region of Peru.

A Communication Advocacy Team has been created to create campaign materials that can be used by indigenous communities to educate their bases about the project and can be used to promote this project in Ecuador more broadly.

Working Groups comprised of representatives from the organizations involved in this project have been created. There are 3 areas of focus that we’ve identified and established working groups to do research and work:

Legal Structures/Protective Rights

This working group will research what is available already in Ecuador and Peru and in other parts of the world that are models for creating protected areas and providing structures for true indigenous management.

Funding Mechanisms

The task here is to research possible sources of funds for the implementation of the project. Areas for research will include, but not be limited to, debt swaps, UN and international funds for climate protection, bi-lateral aid, corporate and personal individual support. The funds raised will need to meet the internal needs of the project and also provide funding for the general budgets of Ecuador and Peru for forgoing industrial level extractive activity in the project area.

Regional/Ecological Planning

This team will research what are the actual needs for the area of the project in terms of education, healthcare, communication, transportation, governance structures, etc. When combined with the indigenous communities’ own “life plans” this group will develop a regional ecological plan for the area. One part of that plan will be determining the cultural and socio-economic indicators of success for the region.

Your donation to Pachamama Alliance will help fund this project to permanently protect the Sacred Headwaters Region of the Amazon Rainforest.