Update from the field – Kaxuyana, Kahiyana and Tunuyana plan their activities for 2016 and ECAM continues its work with the Quilombola (Maroon) Associations.

Dear all, I am writing this on behalf of the Equipe de Conservacao da Amazonia, ECAM,  the Brazilian partner of Regnskogsforeningen, to submit an update on the work of our joint project supporting the indigenous communities of the Karib Corridor in the northern Amazon of Brazil.

From the 21th to the 28th of February, Ecam’s team worked together with the Kaxuyana, mte2Tunuyana and Kahiyana to develop the work plan for 2016 including vigilance expeditions, ethno-zoning plan and strengthening of the local associations. These collaborative planning meetings are crucial for an effective implementation of the project’s activities and to achieve its results. In 2015, the project participants accomplished all activities exactly as planned—except for one vigilance expedition which was delayed due to extreme droughts in the region at the end of the year. The same drought also caused and fed a forest fire in the neighboring Mapuera Indigenous Territory, home to the Wai Wai. Ecam and partners helped provide material support to the Wai Wai to put out the fire. The threats to the communities and the forest due to climate change are becoming increasingly clear.

At the meeting, the project was also able to deliver an outboard engine to the Tunuyana whose village is one of the most remote in the region. This outboard engine will help them to strengthen the vigilance of the northern border of the indigenous territory, as well as provide access to health care and local markets to sell their products. Association president Juventino travelled to the state capital Belem together with other local leaders to further reduce resistance to the identification of the Kaxuyana and Tunuyana indigenous lands within the state. As a result the state of Para did not present formal objections to the demarcation process within the legally established time limit.

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Together with partner NGO IMAFLORA, Ecam also helped organize a meeting between indigenous representatives and buyers of sustainably produced non-timber forest products. By cutting out middlemen this process will guarantee better returns to the indigenous communities. The project also involves the neighboring Quilombola (Maroon) communities, descendants of African slaves, who maintain much of their traditional culture and live in the same forests as the indigenous communities.

Municipalities Pact

In another important development to improve the capabilities of local governments, NGO partners ECAM, IMAZON and Agenda Publica are supporting the municipality of Oriximina in the inclusion of key information from local traditional communities and indigenous groups in the 10 year municipal development plan. The aim is to provide basic social services to remote communities and create a regional sustainable development strategy.

This process will guarantee that the priorities of local communities are included within the plan of municipal government to develop the region. The work also relies on the support of the local mining company which is the most important economic driver in the region Mineracao Rio do Norte (MRN).

/Vasco M. van Roosmalen, Brasilia, March 2nd 2016