In Colombia, legislation recognizes indigenous territories (resguardos) as territorial entities, meaning that local indigenous organizations become public entities responsible for the management and administration of their territories, and receive State funds for this purpose.
Gaia Amazonas believes that indigenous governance, in coordination with local and national governments, translates into the strengthening of indigenous peoples as the main actors in conserving the Amazon rainforest. This approach can also transform State programs – especially for health and education – to be more efficient, more relevant to local needs, and have greater fiscal transparency.
Gaia Amazonas has provided training and capacity building for local indigenous organizations, know as AATIs – Associations of Traditional Indigenous Authorities – in the departments of Amazonas, Guainía and Vaupés, enabling them to develop the tools to effectively assume and rights and responsibilities for their territories. Each region has its own particularities in historic, ethnic and political characteristics, requiring a diversity of strategies.
One of the most significant achievements, in Amazonas, has been the creation of a Permanent Table for Inter-administrative Coordination – known as the Mesa – where the local indigenous organizations successfully dialogue with government for the decentralization of education, health and other state programs. Evaluations show an increase in cost-effectiveness, relevance and transparency of programs managed by the indigenous organizations.