Indigenous peoples increase control over their forest resources
• A decrease in timber and wildlife illegal trade is expected within significant sectors of both regions
The extraction and trade of forest goods, such as timber and wildlife, is one of the main economic activities in the Amazon. Unfortunately, over 80% of the trade of fauna and timber extracted in Peru has illegal origins, which means the exploitation of these resources is carried out without considering the minimum standards of environmental sustainability stated by law, and mostly, under disadvantageous conditions for the people living in the exploited forests. This illegal trade outlines one of the main obstacles regarding peoples’ development in the Amazon, as well as the sustainable management of our natural resources.
Regarding this scenario, two indigenous grassroots organizations from Ucayali and Madre de Dios, the Ashéninka Indigenous Federation of Atalaya (FECONAPA) and the Indigenous Federation of Madre de Dios River and Tributaries (FENAMAD) respectively, are taking a step towards a better territorial management through forest oversight.
The forest oversight is a technical unit created within an indigenous organization or a community in order to promote and provide technical assistance in the sustainable management of communal forests. In this regard, its role lies in safeguarding communities’ interests, ensure law enforcement and control fair business activities with other market stakeholders. The first experiences from such oversight have been promoted by the Regional Organization AIDESEP Ucayali – ORAU.
According to Braulio Buendía, specialist of TRAFFIC for the Living Amazon Project, the appointment of supervisors of FECONAPA and FENAMAD by indigenous organizations will contribute towards the strengthening of their technical, control and trade capacities, resulting in benefit of their member communities.
“With this essential step, it is expected the indigenous people, who now count on these oversights, can revert the illegal issues affecting their territories, by creating transparency and fair conditions in commercial transactions for both goods and services of the forest. Also these oversights will ease the management of forest data, such as monitoring forest licenses, etc.
These groundbreaking initiatives have been positively embraced by authorities and other stakeholders involved in the sector, given that they will have a contact point for coordinations with indigenous communities regarding management, control actions, inspection and capacities related to the forest environment. Finally, these also benefit the corporate sector, because through this application they will achieve a major security and stability for their investments with communities.”
This important step for the development of the Amazon and its peoples, have been supported by the Living Amazon Project and financed by the European Union and WWF Germany, and implemented in Peru by DAR, SNV, TRAFFIC and WWF Peru. Also, in Colombia by Corpoamazonia, SINCHI, TRAFFIC and WWF Colombia.