Pressures affecting the Northwest Amazon continue to grow in intensity, driven by the increasing demand for natural resources. The situation is compounded by development programs that encourage forest clearance for soybean production, cattle ranching, oil drilling and mining, and the inability of government entities to enforce legislation for environmental protection – as well as the problem of illicit crops.
Despite ongoing debate at the international and national levels on the importance of the Amazon, not least for climate change mitigation and freshwater supplies, there are no clear policies on a future for the Northwest Amazon, nor legal mechanisms to exclude extractive industries from protected areas and indigenous territories.
In Colombia, the “post-conflict scenario” has been rapidly followed by a surge in international mining companies challenging the legal framework that covers indigenous territories and protected areas in order to access mineral resources. Extractive industries have been promoted as a national priority, the country’s “engine for development” to drive economic growth. The indigenous resguardos, covering more than 26 million hectares, are especially vulnerable, as their collective land rights do not include rights to the sub-soil.
This is just one of the threats being monitored closely by Gaia Amazonas. Our team of lawyers follow-up on legislative developments and public policies to ensure that environmental and indigenous rights are neither ignored nor overturned; while geographic data and maps from our GIS team provide up-to-date information on new and emerging threats, deforestation and mining activities.