Conservation and Indigenous Territorial Management Projects Launch during Free Land Camp

Launch event for new projects / Photos: USAID
USAID continues to support Indigenous-led biodiversity conservation in the Brazilian Amazon

April, 2024 – USAID and its partners launched two new conservation and Indigenous territorial management projects during the 2024 Free Land Camp (ATL, or Acampamento Terra Livre) in Brasília. The Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB) tent hosted the launch.

Brazil and the United States are celebrating 200 years of cooperation. Their long-standing partnership stresses the importance of international cooperation to address global challenges, including climate change, Amazon conservation, and Indigenous rights. It reaffirms both nations’ commitment to biodiversity conservation, recognizing Indigenous Peoples as guardians of the forest and promoting their active participation in these efforts. 

The two projects – "Nossa Terra, Nossa Mãe" and "Aliança dos Povos Indígenas pelas Florestas da Amazônia Oriental"ensure the continuity of the collaboration between Indigenous groups dedicated to strengthening sociobiodiversity conservation and promoting the well-being of native peoples in Southern Amazonas, Roraima, Maranhão, Pará, and Tocantins states.

“The projects mark the continuation of a significant collaboration between USAID and government and civil society partners. They will contribute to implement the PNGATI (National Policy for Territorial and Environmental Management of Indigenous Lands)”, said USAID/Brazil’s Director, Mark Carrato. He reinforced the importance of Indigenous Peoples in protecting the environment.

Carrato participated the opening panel with Nilcélio Jiahui from Organização Indígena dos Povos do Alto Madeira (OPIAM); Edinho Macuxi from Conselho Indígena de Roraima; Oscar Apinajé from Wyty Catë; Marcilene Guajajara from Coordenação das Articulações dos Povos Indígenas do Maranhão (COAPIMA) and Toya Manchineri from COIAB. 

“With this support from USAID and IEB (Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil), which is a partner institution very committed to Indigenous socio-biodiversity, we can only add to the initiative that the project will cover for five years in that region”, said Nilcéio.

The initiatives – The "Nossa Terra, Nossa Mãe" initiative seeks to strengthen and empower Indigenous peoples as environmental conservation leaders, contributing to the implementation of the PNGATI. 

The IEB will lead the project in partnership with the CIR, the Operação Amazônia Nativa and the Terra Brasilis Institute, with support from USAID. The project will consolidate integrated Indigenous territorial management in Southern Amazonas and Roraima, connecting original knowledge and sustainable practices to preserve the unique biodiversity of the Amazon.

Several Indigenous associations will participate and lead activities benefiting their territories, with a total area of 27 million hectares in Southern Amazonas and Roraima. 

CIR will support the production of four new territorial and environmental management plans and implement another nine existing plans on 33 Indigenous lands, totaling 19 million hectares and a population of 58,000 individuals. In Southern Amazonas, nine Indigenous organizations will participate, covering 8 million hectares, and a population of 12,000 individuals from 14 Indigenous peoples. 

Aliança dos Povos Indígenas pelas Florestas da Amazônia Oriental" will contribute to the protection, conservation, and restoration of forests in the Eastern Amazon region, covering 14 Indigenous lands in the states of Maranhão, Pará, and Tocantins. This includes a population of 35,000 people on approximately 2.5 million hectares. 

The project strengthens community territorial management initiatives, supports local networks to protect Indigenous rights and conserve biodiversity in their territories, and invests in training for Indigenous peoples. 

This includes the development and implementation of territorial and environmental management plans, strategic communication training provided to young Indigenous communicators, promotion of community and family initiatives, promotion of environmental conservation and restoration, traditional agriculture, and food security. It includes a regional policy and institutional strengthening component and actions focused on gender relations. 

Supported by USAID and executed by the Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI), the Instituto Sociedade, População e Natureza (ISPN) and several Indigenous organizations, including the COAPIMA, the Articulação das Mulheres Indígenas do Maranhão, and the Wyty-Catë Association of the Timbira Communities of Maranhão and Tocantins.

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