Writes: Lelis Rivera
With 10 years of experience working with indigenous peoples and 8 years involved in the application of the Law of Native Communities, fate put me to the test and gave me the opportunity to found and obtain the legal status of the Center for the Development of the Amazonian Indigenous (CEDIA) on February 14, 1982, together with two other friends, with the conviction that the legal security of the traditional territories of the native communities was an act of justice and to change the unbridled course of the new conquest of the Jungle based on uncontrolled extractivism that began strongly in the second half of the 19th century and reached its highest point with the colonization promoted by the Mountain Lands Law in the 20th century.
Four years after the application of the first Law of Native Communities 20653, in 1978, the State had titled more than 600 native communities. Since then until 2017, less than 700 more communities have been titled - grossly - out of an approximate total of 1800; of which the 90% has been possible with international technical and financial cooperation. In the last 37 years, the native communities have not been in the State planning system for matters of sanitation of land property; On the contrary, the last 20 years have superimposed, on the rights of indigenous peoples, a series of norms that increasingly hinder the sanitation processes and grant their territories to third parties - forestry, mining, hydrocarbon concessions, Bosques de Permanent production, special awards, etc.-.
For this reason, we are proud to have made the decision to support indigenous peoples, for 35 years, to access their property rights, as well as the different regional governments to meet the demands of more than 325 native communities in the titling of their territories, which represent 39% of titled native communities at the national level; having for the first time put the State in the position of recognizing and creating Territorial Reserves for indigenous peoples in isolation, where we have contributed 2 territorial Reserves that are equivalent to 34% of the existing ones that today have special legislation.
Under the motto "one square meter recognized as property to organized native communities, one square meter put into conservation" our involvement in the titling of communal lands led us to generate a process of community institutional strengthening to clean up and / or formalize communal institutions to the management of their territories and the development of sustainable economic activities.
The formal entry of CEDIA to the issues of land use planning, the creation and support to the management of ANP is a joint effort developed in alliance with the communities, indigenous organizations and the National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) - now the National Natural Areas Service Protected by the State (SERNANP) - in the creation of 5 ANPs and the categorization of another 4 that represent the 38% of the ANPs existing in the Peruvian Amazon.
After 35 years of uninterrupted work, CEDIA proudly shows some achievements:
Titling of Territories:
• 4.5 million hectares for the benefit of more than 19 thousand indigenous families of the ethnolinguistic groups Ashaninka, Matsiguenka, Matsés, Urarina, Kichwa, Secoya, Cocama Cocamilla, Aguajum, Ashénika, Shipibo - Conibo, Capanahua, Iquito, Yine Yami, Amarakaeri , Huachipaeri, Kakinte, among others.
Creation and Support to the Management of ANP:
• Definitive categorization of the ANP complex of Vilcabamba (Otishi National Park, Asháninka and Machiguenga Communal Reserves) (Total 709,346 ha.) In alliance with INRENA -now SERNANP-, NGOs such as ACPC and IBC, and all the indigenous organizations of the basins of the Apurímac, Ene, Tambo and Urubamba rivers.
• Matsés National Reserve in Loreto (420,635 ha.) And Megantoni National Sanctuary in Cusco (215,900 ha.)
In recent years he has participated in the categorization process of:
• Güeppí Reserved Zone (ZR) with the creation of the Güeppí-SEKIME National Park and two Communal Reserves: Airo Pai and Huimeki (Total 592,750 ha.).
• Categorization of the Sierra del Divisor ZR with the creation of the Sierra del Divisor National Park (1'354,485 ha.)
• It has facilitated the participatory process for the elaboration of the Master Plans of the Megantoni National Sanctuary, the Machiguenga Communal Reserve, the Matsés National Reserve, the Güeppí Sekime National Park and the Sierra del Divisor National Park in agreement with SERNANP.
Indigenous Populations in Isolation:
CEDIA is a pioneer in the formulation of technical-legal files for the establishment of Territorial Reserves for indigenous peoples in isolation:
• The State Reserve in favor of the Kugapakori (Nanty) –Nahua indigenous groups (456,672 ha.) And the Territorial Reserve in favor of the Nahua, Amahuaca and Mashco Piro indigenous groups of the Alto Río de las Piedras in Madre de Dios (700,000 ha .) that was expanded and legally established thanks to the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River and Tributaries (FENAMAD).
On this 35th anniversary we reaffirm our commitment to contribute to the conservation of the Amazon through its peoples and we express our gratitude to the cooperation of European and American institutions that gave us their trust and support to reap these and many more achievements.