News

The Rights of Nature and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges Towards Sustainable Development

The FSC Indigenous Foundation participated in the “First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress” seeking to build a joint multisectoral agenda to combat the climate crises by the sustainable management of forests and biodiversity through the vision and needs of the Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Panama City, Panama. The “First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congresswas held in Panama City from April 6 to 8. This event was part of a regional strategy to build a joint multisectoral agenda to combat climate change, to promote the sustainable management of the forests and biodiversity, and encourage innovative solutions to conserve nature and generate benefits for the local and Indigenous communities. 

The Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), and the Ministry of the Environment of Panama led this initiative.

The technical and financial support for the event was provided by the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF), the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) and other organizations and cooperation agencies, such as Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), the Ford Foundation, Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), Forest Trends, the Prisma Foundation and Rainforest Foundation US.

This space for dialogue, reflection, and co-creation allowed to determine the challenged and opportunities Mesoamerica has by aiming to join forces to structure a course of action that includes and positions the vision of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as the main ax in all forest and biodiversity conservation strategies, so that countries in that region manage to achieve their goals and commitments established during international agreements.  

Various modules occurred during the event that let the public know the mesoamerican reality, as well as the diverse proposals and successful experiences. As a result, the discussion on the importance of Indigenous Peoples and local communities participation in the management and forests conservation, biodiversity and other resources was deepened.

  • First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress

    Levi Sucre, Coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), Sara Omi, President of the Mesoamerican Coordinating Committee of Women Territorial Leaders and Victor Francisco Cadavid, National Forestry Director of the Ministry of Environment of Panama, spoke at the opening of the event, emphasizing the importance of the space and highlighting the role of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

    “We Indigenous Peoples and local communities have a lot to contribute and we contribute from being guardians of the forests. We contribute to the knowledge of how we interact and live in the forests,” said Levi Sucre, coordinator of the AMPB.

    In turn Sara Omi Sara, noted: “As women, we are concerned about and work on multiple challenges such as food security, the rescue of traditional knowledge and the transmission of that knowledge”. 

    Additionally, Francisco Souza, Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation, highlighted the relationship of Indigenous Peoples with nature and the importance of their inclusion in the implementation of national policies and laws.

    In this sense, Franciso Souza pointed out, “The importance of this discussion on the rights of Mother Nature is an important starting point to also think about the rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

    Mauricio Mireles, FAO Policy Officer for Indigenous Peoples and Social Inclusion for Latin America and the Caribbean, opened the discussion with an introductory presentation in which he highlighted the contribution and challenges of Indigenous and forest communities in the protection of Mesoamerican forests. In his presentation he emphasized: “If we understand that there is effectiveness in ancestral knowledge, we understand why native peoples are the main defenders. If we do not support the protection that people do, we cannot expect conservation to continue.” 

    The first module addressed the coordination of public policy for forest conservation, economic development and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Here the successful experiences of some organizations in the region were presented. The following is a detail of the discussion.

    Marcedonio Cortave, Executive Director of the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP) highlighted the contributions of Petén’s forest communities to the conservation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, stressing that community governance is the basis for sustainable forest management. During his speech, Cortave stated: “It is the communities that have maintained the forests. Why? Because they are their livelihoods. They cannot be protected without the contribution of those who inhabit those areas.” 

    Sagladummad Anibal Sanchez, representative of the Guna General Congress, presented the achievements and challenges of the Integral Plan of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama, emphasizing the importance of linking the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples in different areas, as a strategy to generate sustainable development models that include the needs and priorities of the communities, in this sense he emphasized: “Indigenous knowledge must be preserved and disseminated through education, in the areas of health, intercultural bilingual education and forest management.” 

    Amalia Hernández, President of the Federation of Agroforestry Producers of Honduras (FEPROAH), stressed the importance of generating strategic alliances to promote community forestry in her country, underscoring the need to listen to proposals from the communities that are on the front line of defense and action for the protection of forests.“The grassroots communities are and have always been the protectors of the forests. Therefore, we continue to advocate that we should be heard,” she said.

    The second module of the Congress focused on the challenges of building a fair forestry market and respecting the rights of Indigenous and local communities. The experiences of organizations from Mexico, Honduras and the FSC were presented.

    Gustavo Sánchez Valle, President of the Mexican Network of Peasant Forestry Organizations (MOCAF Network), presented the experience of community forest governance in Mexico and its relationship with legal timber. He stressed the importance of establishing national and international spaces for dialogue to create the necessary conditions to legalize the legal timber trade, “The legality of timber is a complex issue where different ministries of a country must participate and there must be cooperation between countries, so it is important that it is discussed in these spaces,” said Sánchez Valle.

    During his presentation, Donaldo Allen, representative of Unity of La Moskitia (MASTA), highlighted the importance of community forest governance in Honduras as well as the inclusion of traditional knowledge in all processes: “Within the framework of respect, we must frame ourselves in a double manner: How we organize and coordinate traditional knowledge with academic knowledge without imposition.” 

    This module also featured the participation of Zandra Martínez, President of the FSC Board of Directors, who made an important contribution as a commentator on the panel. During her intervention she emphasized that the experiences presented show that there are great opportunities for the region. She also emphasized that FSC is a market tool available to Indigenous Peoples that has proven its effectiveness in communities in Guatemala and Mexico.

     

  • The FSC Indigenous Foundation and the IPARD Program as facilitators in the co-creation of long-term innovative solutions

    As part of the work carried out by the FSC Indigenous Foundation and the IPARD Program so that Indigenous Peoples around the world can manage their territories and generate their own development models, the event entitled “The Rights of Nature and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges for Sustainable Development” was organized within the framework of the “First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress”.

    “The heart and vision of the strategy for IPARD is to promote cooperation and collaboration between different sectors to best support and, indeed, create or co-create long-term solutions together with and for Indigenous Peoples around the world.” Francisco Souza, Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation. 

    Learn more about IPARD 

    The panel held on Thursday, April 7, deepened the discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing Panama for the implementation of the recently approved Law 287, which seeks to safeguard and promote the rights of nature.  This event highlighted this milestone as a first step for the implementation of regulations and actions necessary for conservation that contemplate the vision and needs of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

    Juan Diego Vásquez, Deputy of the National Assembly of Panama, who drafted the proposal of Law 287, pointed out that one of the achievements of this law was “To include some specific norms and conventions for Indigenous Peoples who have dedicated themselves since many centuries ago to the protection and conservation of the environment.”

    Similarly, other experts invited by the Foundation highlighted the valuable role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities so that this innovative Law, approved by the Panamanian Government last February, will transform the country’s reality and become the beginning of a great strategy aimed at promoting the socioeconomic development of the communities.

    In the words of Victor Cadavid, National Forestry Director of the Ministry of Environment of Panama, “a regulation like this in our country is essential to underpin the socio-economic development towards the future, to be able to have rights over nature will indicate a protection, a greater safeguard that should be born definitely a direct participation of the Indigenous communities.”  

    According to Diwigdi Valiente, Head of Sustainability for Panama Tourism, it is necessary to open a space to discuss, manage questions and generate answers that allow: “to build a road map that identifies good practices and the main problems” in order to create economic development proposals for the Indigenous Peoples and Communities of the country.

    Similarly, Valeria Torres Larranaga, Governance Affairs Officer (ILPES) / CEPAL, provided a comprehensive perspective on the problems, proposals and future outlook on this issue of local, regional and global relevance. During his presentation, he said: “Indigenous Peoples, who have a close relationship with nature, have a worldview that is essential for establishing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and for addressing the reality of the climate crisis we are currently facing.”

    Constanza Prieto Figelist, Latin America Legal Lead of the Earth Law Center, pointed out that the recognition of the rights of nature in several countries of the region creates links that allow connecting human rights with the rights of nature. Regarding the specific case of Panama, she points out that: “This law establishes a bridge between human rights and the recognition of the rights of nature, since in Latin America, constitutions normally only recognize the right to a healthy environment, and opens the door to ecological recognition, to the recognition of the intrinsic value of nature.” 

    For more information, we invite you to watch the complete event.

  • Context of Indigenous Peoples and the challenges of the Mesoamerican regional agenda

    The Indigenous and local communities of Mesoamerica influence approximately 50 million hectares of forests that host 8% of the world’s biodiversity and store 47% of the region’s forest carbon stocks.

    In this region there are about 5 million people who depend on forests. 

    These communities face diverse pressures and threats that jeopardize their lives and the permanence of vital forests to confront the climate crisis.

    One of the main threats is the narco-deforestation that plagues Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. According to several studies, this phenomenon generates a loss to an average of between 15% and 30% of forest loss in these three countries. Additionally, in the same countries, Indigenous and local community leaders are persecuted, criminalized and murdered for defending the Earth from this and other threats. According to the latest report presented by Global Witness, in 2020 there were 42 murders of nature defenders and most of them were Indigenous or community leaders.

    The same report states that in Mexico, 30 lethal attacks against land and environmental defenders were documented in 2020, registering a 67% increase over 2019. Logging was linked to nearly a third of these attacks, and half of all attacks in the country were directed against Indigenous communities.

    This harsh reality coupled with structural inequality, the effects of climate change and the effects of the health crisis have placed Indigenous and local communities in a situation of multiple and extreme vulnerabilities.

    As a result, the regional multisectoral agenda, backed and supported by the FSC Indigenous Foundation, the IPARD Program, and other strategic allies, is facing diverse challenges  of various natures, but also present an opportunity to build an effective course of action that allows to co-create innovative solutions from the front line communities’ perspective so that they can generate benefits in economic, environmental, social and cultural terms for the countries, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and the private sector shareholders committed to the sustainable development.

First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress

News

The Rights of Nature and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges Towards Sustainable Development

The FSC Indigenous Foundation participated in the “First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress” seeking to build a joint multisectoral agenda to combat the climate crises by the sustainable management of forests and biodiversity through the vision and needs of the Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Panama City, Panama. The “First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress” was held in Panama City from April 6 to 8. This event was part of a regional strategy to build a joint multisectoral agenda to combat climate change, to promote the sustainable management of the forests and biodiversity, and encourage innovative solutions to conserve nature and generate benefits for the local and Indigenous communities.

The Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD), and the Ministry of the Environment of Panama led this initiative.

The technical and financial support for the event was provided by the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF), the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) and other organizations and cooperation agencies, such as Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA), the Ford Foundation, Forest and Farm Facility (FFF), Forest Trends, the Prisma Foundation and Rainforest Foundation US.

This space for dialogue, reflection, and co-creation allowed to determine the challenged and opportunities Mesoamerica has by aiming to join forces to structure a course of action that includes and positions the vision of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as the main ax in all forest and biodiversity conservation strategies, so that countries in that region manage to achieve their goals and commitments established during international agreements.  

Various modules occurred during the event that let the public know the mesoamerican reality, as well as the diverse proposals and successful experiences. As a result, the discussion on the importance of Indigenous Peoples and local communities participation in the management and forests conservation, biodiversity and other resources was deepened.

Levi Sucre, Coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB), Sara Omi, President of the Mesoamerican Coordinating Committee of Women Territorial Leaders and Victor Francisco Cadavid, National Forestry Director of the Ministry of Environment of Panama, spoke at the opening of the event, emphasizing the importance of the space and highlighting the role of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.

Portait Levi Sucre Coordinator of the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forest

” We Indigenous Peoples and local communities have a lot to contribute and we contribute from being guardians of the forests. We contribute to the knowledge of how we interact and live in the forests,” said Levi Sucre, coordinator of the AMPB.


Portait Sara Omi, President of the Mesoamerican Coordinating Committee of Women Territorial Leaders

Sara Omi, noted: “As women, we are concerned about and work on multiple challenges such as food security, the rescue of traditional knowledge and the transmission of that knowledge”.


Additionally, Francisco Souza, Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation, highlighted the relationship of Indigenous Peoples with nature and the importance of their inclusion in the implementation of national policies and laws.

Portait Francisco Souza, Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation

In this sense, Franciso Souza pointed out, The importance of this discussion on the rights of Mother Nature is an important starting point to also think about the rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Mauricio Mireles, FAO Policy Officer for Indigenous Peoples and Social Inclusion for Latin America and the Caribbean, opened the discussion with an introductory presentation in which he highlighted the contribution and challenges of Indigenous and forest communities in the protection of Mesoamerican forests. In his presentation he emphasized: “If we understand that there is effectiveness in ancestral knowledge, we understand why native peoples are the main defenders. If we do not support the protection that people do, we cannot expect conservation to continue.”

The first module addressed the coordination of public policy for forest conservation, economic development and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Here the successful experiences of some organizations in the region were presented. The following is a detail of the discussion. 

Marcedonio Cortave, Executive Director of the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP) highlighted the contributions of Petén’s forest communities to the conservation of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, stressing that community governance is the basis for sustainable forest management. During his speech, Cortave stated: “It is the communities that have maintained the forests. Why? Because they are their livelihoods. They cannot be protected without the contribution of those who inhabit those areas.”

Sagladummad Anibal Sanchez, representative of the Guna General Congress, presented the achievements and challenges of the Integral Plan of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama, emphasizing the importance of linking the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples in different areas, as a strategy to generate sustainable development models that include the needs and priorities of the communities, in this sense he emphasized: “Indigenous knowledge must be preserved and disseminated through education, in the areas of health, intercultural bilingual education and forest management.” 

Amalia Hernández, President of the Federation of Agroforestry Producers of Honduras (FEPROAH), stressed the importance of generating strategic alliances to promote community forestry in her country, underscoring the need to listen to proposals from the communities that are on the front line of defense and action for the protection of forests. “The grassroots communities are and have always been the protectors of the forests. Therefore, we continue to advocate that we should be heard.” she said. 

The second module of the Congress focused on the challenges of building a fair forestry market and respecting the rights of Indigenous and local communities. The experiences of organizations from Mexico, Honduras and the FSC were presented. 

Gustavo Sánchez Valle, President of the Mexican Network of Peasant Forestry Organizations (MOCAF Network), presented the experience of community forest governance in Mexico and its relationship with legal timber. He stressed the importance of establishing national and international spaces for dialogue to create the necessary conditions to legalize the legal timber trade, “The legality of timber is a complex issue where different ministries of a country must participate and there must be cooperation between countries, so it is important that it is discussed in these spaces,” said Sánchez Valle. 

During his presentation, Donaldo Allen, representative of Unity of La Moskitia (MASTA), highlighted the importance of community forest governance in Honduras as well as the inclusion of traditional knowledge in all processes: “Within the framework of respect, we must frame ourselves in a double manner: How we organize and coordinate traditional knowledge with academic knowledge without imposition.” 

This module also featured the participation of Zandra Martínez, President of the FSC Board of Directors, who made an important contribution as a commentator on the panel. During her intervention she emphasized that the experiences presented show that there are great opportunities for the region. She also emphasized that FSC is a market tool available to Indigenous Peoples that has proven its effectiveness in communities in Guatemala and Mexico.


The FSC Indigenous Foundation and the IPARD Program as facilitators in the co-creation of long-term innovative solutions

As part of the work carried out by the FSC Indigenous Foundation and the IPARD Program so that Indigenous Peoples around the world can manage their territories and generate their own development models, the event entitled “The Rights of Nature and Indigenous Peoples: Challenges for Sustainable Development” was organized within the framework of the “First Regional Forestry and Sustainable Landscapes Congress”.


“The heart and vision of the strategy for IPARD is to promote cooperation and collaboration between different sectors to best support and, indeed, create or co-create long-term solutions together with and for Indigenous Peoples around the world.”

Francisco Souza, Director of the FSC Indigenous Foundation.



The panel held on Thursday, April 7, deepened the discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing Panama for the implementation of the recently approved Law 287, which seeks to safeguard and promote the rights of nature.  This event highlighted this milestone as a first step for the implementation of regulations and actions necessary for conservation that contemplate the vision and needs of Indigenous Peoples and local communities.



Juan Diego Vásquez, Deputy of the National Assembly of Panama, who drafted the proposal of Law 287, pointed out that one of the achievements of this law was “To include some specific norms and conventions for Indigenous Peoples who have dedicated themselves since many centuries ago to the protection and conservation of the environment.”

Similarly, other experts invited by the Foundation highlighted the valuable role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities so that this innovative Law, approved by the Panamanian Government last February, will transform the country’s reality and become the beginning of a great strategy aimed at promoting the socioeconomic development of the communities. 

In the words of Victor Cadavid, National Forestry Director of the Ministry of Environment of Panama, “a regulation like this in our country is essential to underpin the socio-economic development towards the future, to be able to have rights over nature will indicate a protection, a greater safeguard that should be born definitely a direct participation of the Indigenous communities.”  

According to Diwigdi Valiente, Head of Sustainability for Panama Tourism, it is necessary to open a space to discuss, manage questions and generate answers that allow: to build a road map that identifies good practices and the main problems” in order to create economic development proposals for the Indigenous Peoples and Communities of the country.  

Similarly, Valeria Torres Larranaga, Governance Affairs Officer (ILPES) / CEPAL, provided a comprehensive perspective on the problems, proposals and future outlook on this issue of local, regional and global relevance. During his presentation, he said: “Indigenous Peoples, who have a close relationship with nature, have a worldview that is essential for establishing climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and for addressing the reality of the climate crisis we are currently facing.”

Constanza Prieto Figelist, Latin America Legal Lead of the Earth Law Center, pointed out that the recognition of the rights of nature in several countries of the region creates links that allow connecting human rights with the rights of nature. Regarding the specific case of Panama, she points out that: “This law establishes a bridge between human rights and the recognition of the rights of nature, since in Latin America, constitutions normally only recognize the right to a healthy environment, and opens the door to ecological recognition, to the recognition of the intrinsic value of nature.”

For more information, we invite you to watch the complete event.


Context of Indigenous Peoples and the challenges of the Mesoamerican regional agenda

The Indigenous and local communities of Mesoamerica influence approximately 50 million hectares of forests that host 8% of the world’s biodiversity and store 47% of the region’s forest carbon stocks. 


In this region there are about 5 million people who depend on forests.


The Indigenous Peoples and local communities of Mesoamerica face diverse pressures and threats that jeopardize their lives and the permanence of vital forests to confront the climate crisis. 

One of the main threats is the narco-deforestation that plagues Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. According to several studies, this phenomenon generates a loss to an average of between 15% and 30% of forest loss in these three countries. Additionally, in the same countries, Indigenous and local community leaders are persecuted, criminalized and murdered for defending the Earth from this and other threats. According to the latest report presented by Global Witness, in 2020 there were 42 murders of nature defenders and most of them were Indigenous or community leaders.

The same report states that in Mexico, 30 lethal attacks against land and environmental defenders were documented in 2020, registering a 67% increase over 2019. Logging was linked to nearly a third of these attacks, and half of all attacks in the country were directed against Indigenous communities.

This harsh reality coupled with structural inequality, the effects of climate change and the effects of the health crisis have placed Indigenous and local communities in a situation of multiple and extreme vulnerabilities. 

As a result, the regional multisectoral agenda, backed and supported by the FSC Indigenous Foundation, the IPARD Program, and other strategic allies, is facing diverse challenges  of various natures, but also present an opportunity to build an effective course of action that allows to co-create innovative solutions from the front line Communities’ perspective so that they can generate benefits in economic, environmental, social and cultural terms for the countries, Indigenous Peoples, local communities, and the private sector shareholders committed to the sustainable development. 

News

Introducing the Indigenous Advisory Committee of Panama

Members speak about how we can join forces to find solutions for the challenges facing Indigenous Peoples.

Technical training, a school of culture, access to markets – the members of the Indigenous Advisory Committee of Panama discuss strategies to promote Indigenous Peoples’ self-development. 

In each country where the Indigenous Peoples Alliance for Rights and Development (IPARD) works, the FSC Indigenous Foundation (FSC-IF) collaborates with a committee formed of Indigenous representatives who provide advice to the FSC-IF to ensure the participation and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the Program.  

The following video is an introduction to the Indigenous Advisory Committee of Panama, which is composed of Briseida Iglesias representing the Guna Yala Comarca, Andrea Lino Machi representing the Emberá and Wounaan Collective Lands, Yoira Berchi representing the Naso Tjër Di Comarca, and Leónidas Aguilar representing the Ngäbe-Buglé Comarca. 

Listen to them discuss the challenges their Peoples face and how we can come together to work on solutions. 

News

The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners

Indigenous communicators and photographers from around the world participated in the "Indigenous Innovative Solutions" contest to raise awareness of the messages and stories from their communities.

Panama City, Panama. After a successful global call for entries and the hard work of the jury – made up of six professional Indigenous photographers from Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia, Bolivia, Gabon and Indonesia – we present the contest’s winning photographs.  

The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” photography contest was open to people from Indigenous communities around the world who submitted original photographs showing the vision, history and knowledge of their Peoples.

The jury, composed of Sara Aliaga Ticona (Bolivia), Yannis Davy Guibinga (Gabon), Michael Eko (Indonesia), Luvia Lazo (Mexico), Flanegan Bainon (Malaysia) and Priscila Tapajowara (Brazil), selected three winning images for each of the categories listed in the contest’s Terms & Conditions.

The final selection of photographs met a series of technical parameters combined with the creativity, relevance and coherence criteria for the selected category.  

See and learn about the winning photographs by category below.

Innovation and Climate Change

The first winning photograph was entitled “The last breath” by Kevin Ochieng Onyango of the Luo People in Kenya.

A boy from the Luo people of Kenya wearing an oxygen mask connected to a plant to represent the importance of forests facing the climate crisis. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Name of the photo: The last breath. Author: Kevin Ocheng

He wrote, “This project is symbolic to show the importance of trees in our ecosystem and the role they play in tackling climate change. As trees grow, they help stop climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in the trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. This project pushes the message of conservation and encourages reforestation.”

The Luo People are located in an area that encompasses South Sudan, Ethiopia, northern Uganda, eastern Congo, western Kenya, and the far north of Tanzania. The Luo Peoples, like other Indigenous Peoples in Kenya, face a number of challenges due to the climate crisis including droughts and pests that threaten crops and the food security of their communities and the country.


The second place winning photograph was “Pescador Kapanawa” (Kapanawa fisherman) by Patrick Murayari of the Kukama People in Peru.  

Young Indigenous people from the Kapanawa people of Peru fishing in the river with canoe and traditional nets.
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Photo Name: Fisherman Kapanawa. Author: Patrick Murayar

“At dusk, equipped with tarrafas (nets) or hooks, the men of the native community of Fatima, belonging to the Kapanawa people, head to the lagoon located five minutes from the community, with the aim of getting some fish for dinner. They only fish for their own consumption. In this way, they guarantee the sustainability of this resource,” writes Patrick.


The Kukama People are located mainly in the Amazonian department of Loreto in Peru.

According to the Database of Indigenous Peoples of Peru, created by the Ministry of Culture, the Kukama have an ancestral tradition of fishing and have developed a series of specific tools and techniques related to their interaction with the ecosystem, which is why both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the sector have called them “the great fishermen of Loreto.”

The third place winning photograph was entitled “La esperanza de seguir viviendo” (The hope to keep on living) by Alcibiades Rodríguez, from the Guna People in Panama.

Aerial photo of one of the islands that make up the territory of the Guna people of Panama "Guna Yala". 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Name of the photo: The hope to keep on living. 
Author: Alcibiades Rodriguez

Alcibiades describes, “The hope of continuing to live within a traditional and conservative territory, full of legacies and the struggle, which remains against climate change.”


The Guna People are found in Colombia and Panama. They are native inhabitants of the continental jungle, but 120 years ago they migrated to the coast — to escape malaria and yellow fever — and founded the Guna Yala Comarca in Panama.

The comarca encompasses a narrow continental strip and an archipelago of 365 islands. The Guna are considered the most vulnerable people to the impacts of climate change and maritime pollution due to their location. According to UN data, the Guna are expected to be the first Indigenous People to be displaced by rising sea levels due to global warming.



Forests and Indigenous Peoples

The first place winning photograph was entitled “Abuelo” (Grandfather) by Venancio Velasco González from San Pablo Yaganiza in Mexico.

The photo portrays a man in the forest with his horse going to sow milpa – a traditional system of planting maize beans, and squash.

Indigenous old man from Mexico in the forest with his horse on his way to plant Milpa. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Name of the photo: Grandfather. Author: Venancio Velasco González

Venancio shares the story of this photograph, “I want to tell you a little about my grandfather, he is 82 years old and all his life has been dedicated to the field. Whenever I remember him a scene comes to my mind of him. Walking through the fog with his horse, going to sow or to collect firewood. This time I had to accompany him to sow Milpa and it was impossible not to remember a part of my childhood and the first time I accompanied him to the field with the same landscape.”


San Pablo Yaganiza is a small town located in the state of Oaxaca. According to the last census data 99.64% of the population is Indigenous and 93.31% of the inhabitants speak an Indigenous language. 

The photograph entitled “Danza del venado” (Dance of the deer) by Nazario Tiul Choc of the Q́eqchi Maya People of Guatemala was the second place winning photograph.

Group of indigenous people from the Unión Maya Itza Cooperative in Guatamela performing the Deer Dance ritual with traditional clothing. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Name of the photo: The Dance of the Deer. 
Author: Nazario Tiul Choc

In Nazario’s words, “Dance of the deer, a hunting ritual, has its origin in the classic Maya period. It is a representation of the war between hunters and wild animals disputing venison as food. Performed annually in Cooperativa Unión Maya Itzá where children and adults participate, this as part of the celebration of their return home from Mexico to Guatemala 27 years ago due to the problems of the armed conflict in Guatemala.”


The photograph entitled “Dayak Kebahan Children” by Victor Fidelis Sentosa from Indonesia was the third place winner. 

The photograph features a child of the Dayak Kebahan tribe playing in the river.  

Child from the Dayak Kebhan people of Indonesia playing in the river. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Photo Name: Dayak Kebhan Children. Author: Victor Fidelis Sentosa

The word Dayak or Dyak is a term used to distinguish between more than 200 Indigenous groups mainly inhabiting the coastal regions of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Although the term Dayak was coined during colonization, Indigenous Peoples reclaimed it  to honor their resistance processes and identity. Even though they keep the same name, each community has its own language, territory and culture. There are approximately 450 Dayak ethnolinguistic groups living in Borneo, according to some estimates.

Currently, most Dayaks live in small villages in coastal communities, with fishing as a main economic activity. 



Indigenous Youth

The first place winning photograph was entitled Oloburgandiwar” by Aylin Alba of the Guna People of Panama. 

Indigenous woman from the Guna people of Panama in the river performing a ritual to connect with the spirits of her ancestors. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners.
Photo Name: Oloubingun Tigwar. Author: Aylin Alba

Aylin shares the story behind this photograph, “Our grandparents tell us that when we die we go through the great river, that is why as Indigenous Peoples we know the importance of water, of nature, since our burba (spirit) will bathe and navigate in the river to be reunited with our ancestors.”



The photograph entitled “Hijos de la tierra” (Children of the Earth) by Alexander Pérez Ventura of the Maya Mam people of Guatemala is the second place winner.  

Young indigenous woman from the Quiché Maya People of Guatemala next to a water source with offerings in gratitude to nature. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Name of the photo: Children of the earth. Author: Alexander Pérez Ventura

Alexander describes his photography: “Ana Francisca Dominguez belongs to the Quiché Mayan People in Guatemala. In her family, all are dedicated to ancestral music with purposes of gratitude and blessing everything that Mother Earth grants them. In the Mayan culture there are four elements that are essential for the human being and at the same time part of them. Each element has a heart; water, air, sun and earth.


Without these elements we are nothing, that is why we consider ourselves children of the earth. The Quiché People are thankful for the water, and often bring gifts to water wells. These main gifts are music, flowers and candles. On June 24th each town blesses the heart of the earth for the water.”

The third place winning photograph is entitled “Pusaka” by Prince Loyd C. Besorio of the Obu Manuvu People of the Philippines. 

Young indigenous woman from the Obu Manuvu tribe of Indonesia holding a horn to call Pusaka, she is the spirit of the forest. 
The “Indigenous Innovative Solutions” Photography Contest Winners
Name of the photograph: Pusaka. Author: Prince Loyd C. Besorio

Prince writes, “The Obu Manuvu tribe strongly believes in Pusaka cosmology, a traditional biodiversity conservation practice where they consecrate and declare entities, alive or non-living as sacred or inviolable because of their emotional attachment. The areas where the Philippine Eagle and other Pusaka animals and trees are found have specific forest guards bringing horns with them as means of communication with other forest guards.”


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