Gaia Amazonas is committed to the protection of biological and cultural diversity, and the future of the Amazon rainforest. Since 1990, we have worked hand in hand with Indigenous communities of the Northwest Amazon for the recognition of theirrights, territories and local governance systems, as the most viable and dignified strategy for forest conservation.
As a result of our efforts Colombia now has the largest continuous indigenous territory in the world, with 26 million hectares of Amazon forest legally recognized as indigenous territories.
Our community-based work in the Colombian Amazon has empowered and enabled 26,000 indigenous people belonging to 100 communities to establish inter-cultural education and health programs, and to exercise local governance over their territories through setting up their own indigenous organizations (known as AATIs – associations of indigenous traditional authorities). It is a unique model of shared responsibility for protecting the Amazon rainforest.
But despite many achievements, the current challenges and threats to the Northwest Amazon and its people require ever more ambitious plans for the coming decade. Mining and extractive industries, state weakness in monitoring and enforcement of forest conservation policies and indigenous rights, and a lack of prior consultation with indigenous communities, could undo the progress made.