The work of Gaia Amazonas involves constructing the means for effective protection of the Amazon forest and the biological and cultural diversity that it harbors, through indigenous territories (resguardos) and protected areas, in coordination with the Office for National Natural Parks, and promoting the joint construction of environmental governance between indigenous people, government entities and civil society.
We work in the structuring and implementation of projects with indigenous inhabitants of the forest, which enable them to practice their rights, to govern and administrate their territories, to conserve the forest, their traditions and culture. In Gaia Amazonas we build solutions with the indigenous people, with an eye on viable alternatives for organization and environmental governance. These projects are funded partly by governments, organizations and individuals who are interested in protecting the environment, the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, and in carrying out policies for adaptation to climate change and to the environmental problems of the modern world.
To a large extent, our work involves protecting indigenous peoples’ rights. Indigenous people are not only the legitimate owners of their territory, duly recognized by the 1991 Constitution, but they have a cultural and traditional knowledge that is essential for the modern western world, which must find sustainable development paths. This achieves conservation objectives as well as the protection of human rights. Amazon indigenous people have lived in the forest for more than nine thousand years and their knowledge on safeguarding the forest, the plants and the biodiversity in general is an integral part of their cultures, which still revere Nature and natural resources as being sacred. Unfortunately, this is being lost with new generations. In Gaia Amazonas we seek ways to recuperate these traditional and cultural values of the indigenous people, which are vital for conservation.
At the local level, we support the linking of Associations of Traditional Indigenous Authorities (AATIs) with provincial governments, municipalities and environmental authorities. In the national arena, we support the development of public policies based on local processes, through monitoring legislative and jurisprudential output, negotiations with ministerial bodies – Environment, Education, Culture, Social Protection, Interior and Justice, and Planning – and active participation in interinstitutional working groups, to define strategies for sustainable development of the Colombian Amazon, with conservation as the starting point. We have developed a “National Environmental Governance Strategy for Conservation and Sustainability”, and in alliance with other organizations from civil society and the private sector, we recently presented an exercise on accountability for the Amazon region, under the name “Amazonas 2030”.
In the international arena we coordinate actions with non-government and indigenous organizations from Brazil and Venezuela within the framework of the “Cooperation and Alliance in the North and West Amazon” (CANOA) initiative, and with non-government organizations from all Amazon countries through the “Linking the Amazon Region” (ARA – Articulación Regional Amazónica), which seek the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in response to the threats of climate change. We have also led the “Amazon Network of Socio-Environmental Geo-Referenced Information” (RAISG – Red Amazónica de Información Socioambiental Georefenciada), as a space for the production and exchange of mapping information for the pan-Amazon region..
- Environmental governance for conservation and sustainability.
- Amazonas 2030
- Transboundary alliances and exchange programs