Capacity building and empowerment in an Amazon community
evidence from tuntanain communal reserve, Perú, 2016-2018
In 2012, Peru gave legal power to Indigenous communities to co-manage a protected natural area in their ancestral homeland, the Tuntanain Communal Reserve, in coordination with the State. The policy aimed to enable the community to participate in conservation activities and benefit from sustainable economic development.
Unfortunately, the reality on the ground did not match the purpose of the law. There was little engagement by the local population and resources not provided by the state. Furthermore, Indigenous representation had deficiencies in its organizational and technical capacity.
In 2016, the United Nations Development Programme and the Peruvian Authority of Protected Natural Areas launched the strengthening participatory management component of the Ecosystems-based Adaptation Amazon project with the objective of making stronger capacities for the co-management of the Tuntanain Communal Reserve.
The effort included instruments such as incentive-based conservation agreements, a leadership school, and an eco-business diploma program implemented during 2017. As a consequence, around one year later, the strengthened co-government structure was able to work together, with the help of strategic alliances, to leverage around 1.5 million USD of national public funds. The project’s efforts to empower Indigenous communities, strengthen the management capacities of the partners, and overcome implementation challenges holds several lessons on sharing power and responsibilities between the State and local citizens.
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