Gaia Amazonas has been instrumental in the official recognition of 26 million hectares of indigenous territories in the Colombian Amazon, an area the size of the UK and the largest indigenous continuous territory in the world.
We have supported 17 indigenous local governments in their making and strategic development. As a result, over 26 ethnic groups have benefited from intercultural education provided by 150+ community schools, as well as basic health services based on inter-cultural dynamics and management.
Furthermore, Gaia Amazonas, with its three decades of work, has become a highly recognized institution and is valued for its expertise in relevant and pertinent development processes within inter-cultural contexts We have a unique experience and positioning where we can support strategies both from “the bottom-up” and from the “top-down”.
- The creation of two additional protected areas (Parque Nacional Pure and Parque Nacional Yaigojé Apaporis), covering over two million hectares, and the recognition of indigenous territories over a further 2.000.000 hectares of rainforest.
- The granting of another 3.000.000 hectares as indigenous collective property, completing 26.000.000 hectares of rain forest that now belong in a collective and inalienable way to the Indigenous People of the Amazon.
- The establishment of a platform that coordinates state and indigenous authorities. This has enabled the decentralization of official programs (education, health and environmental management). The platform is now recognized as part of the state administrative structure and coordinates 13 ethnic groups over 8 million hectares.
- The creation of a training center run by indigenous leaders and Gaia Amazonas in a pristine area on the lower Caquetá river hosting meetings and work shops for indigenous communities, as well as showcasing conservation and cultural practices to interested outsiders such as NGO leaders, scientists and philanthropists.
- Orientation and support for local participatory research efforts led by shamans and elders on sound rainforest resource management, resilience, and climate change adaptation.
- Efforts toward the systematization and outside recognition of the indigenous system of sacred sites and associated shamanistic knowledge -recognized as national cultural heritage by the Colombian government and under consideration as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
- Mapping of the Colombian Amazon and the threats it faces, as part of the RAISG Amazon-wide mapping program (in cooperation with Brazil’s Instituto Socioambiental). Monitoring of deforestation and · climate change adaptation through a combination of Western scientific indicators and indigenous observation practices.
- The coordination and expansion of the Conservation and Alliance of the Northwest Amazon (CANOA) trans-boundary program with Brazil and Venezuela – articulating the efforts of indigenous communities in the conservation of70 million hectares of rainforest and fostering its expansion to 100 million hectares.
- Coordination with the Gaia Foundation (UK) in developing intercultural community programs in South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia and Russia (Altai), based on the Colombian Amazon experience.
- Indigenous community based research led by the shamans focusing mainly on traditional environmental management and sacred sites, and traditional management of seeds and food sovereignty with the participation of over a 150 indigenous peoples.
- Political advocacy to install a moratorium on mining in the indigenous territories in the Amazon which is giving time for indigenous peoples to prepare traditional and legal arguments to defend their territories and to strengthen local governments
- Advocacy for environmental public policies and laws.