Write: Candy Vilela, CEDIA anthropologist
Three years ago, on November 8, 2015, we celebrated the establishment of the Sierra del Divisor National Park, during an emotional ceremony in the Shipiba Nuevo Saposoa Native Community in Ucayali. That was the first time that a president and his ministers came to this community; It was an incredible way to acknowledge their request and legitimize the existence of Nuevo Saposoa, despite the fact that at that time their request for expansion had not yet been met, postponed for several years.
In the light of the years, the importance of that moment must be recognized for those of us who are closely involved in the campaign to protect more than 1.3 million hectares of forest. In the front row was Martha Cairuna, who two months earlier had sued the Peruvian State for failing to comply with the prior consultation agreement to categorize the Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone as a National Park.
At the request of Martha, from the Matsés Native Community and the Asociación de Pueblos 5 Unidos, we join different institutions under the "Alliance for Sierra del Divisor" (Association for the Conservation of the Amazon Basin-ACCA, Amazónicos por la Amazonia - AMPA, Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle - AIDESEP, Center for the Development of the Indigenous Amazónico - CEDIA, CIMA - Cordillera Azul, Environmental Law - DAR, Instituto del Bien Común - IBC, PRONATURALEZA, Peruvian Society of Environmental Law - SPDA, The Field Museum of Chicago, The Nature Conservancy - TNC, World Wildlife Fund - WWF Peru) , to support the work of the National Service of Natural Areas Protected by the State - SERNANP.
Our main contribution was to help the voices of indigenous peoples be heard in decision-making spaces. The strategy we developed required the support and experience of all institutions; from mobilizing the press to cover the news in the field, to helping the spokespersons of the communities that arrived in Lima, to dialogue with the authorities and give interviews in the media.
The success of the campaign, in my view, was that it brought the genuine request of the people directly involved: the native communities and the association of peasant communities adjacent to the Sierra del Divisor National Park. In other words, it was not an initiative that came directly out of the interest to protect biodiversity (also valid), but rather to do so because it is important for the population that uses it directly. A way of doing conservation that starts from the needs of those who benefit from it and that has been the way in which CEDIA has approached the protection of Protected Natural Areas (ANPs).
The ANPs that we have helped to establish are part of a territorial ordering process that begins or is complemented with the sanitation of communal territories and that, when looking at the territory as a whole, seeks different categories of protection that allow indigenous peoples, maintain the base of their subsistence, that is, the natural resources that the territory offers them.
That has been the case of the Sierra del Divisor National Park and the areas that surround it. During the last four years, the titling of 15 communities, between native and peasant, that directly adjoin the ANP has been achieved. In addition, the area that was kept as a reserved zone is in the last steps of the process to establish itself as a Regional Conservation Area (ACR), again at the request of the population that is settled there.
From CEDIA, we have supported the Regional Governments of Loreto and Ucayali to obtain the titling of these communities and we continue to support the management of the Sierra del Divisor National Park. Thus, in 2016, we helped the ANP leadership to carry out the participatory process to prepare its Master Plan, also committed to management, assuming the presidency of the Management Committee.
Currently, we are collaborating with the head of the area in the construction of the Anthropological Contingency Plan, a management instrument that will allow park rangers and other SERNANP specialists, to know the measures and actions to take in cases of contingency related to Indigenous Peoples in Isolation and Initial Contact - PIACI. This is because the Sierra del Divisor National Park is superimposed on the Isconahua Indigenous Reserve and the proposed Indigenous Reserve: Sierra del Divisor Occidental and Yavarí - Tapiche.
It is estimated that within the area and around it (including the adjacent areas found in Brazil), there is a population of around 600 indigenous people in isolation, belonging to the Pano linguistic family. We are talking specifically about people from the Matsés, Remo (Isconahua) and Marubo indigenous peoples, in a situation of isolation and others, whose ethnic belonging has not been possible to identify, who correspond to the scope of the request for the creation of the Yavarí Tapiche Indigenous Reserve. In addition to the Isconahua people within the Isconahua Indigenous Reserve and the Mayoruna (Matsés or Matis), Remo or Isconahua and Kapanawa indigenous peoples, within the proposed Sierra del Divisor Occidental Indigenous Reserve.
Once again, contributing to the protection of the Sierra del Divisor National Park brings us the most human face of conservation: that of conserving to preserve biodiversity, to guarantee subsistence and improve people's living conditions. Whether we are talking about the PIACIs, which are found within the area, the indigenous peoples who make traditional use of the forest resources or the people who live in the nearby cities who use the ecosystem services of the area.
Finally, the establishment of natural areas protected by the State is due not only to the conservation of biodiversity, but also to the use and maintenance of these resources in a sustainable manner. Even better if this recognition is conscious and promotes territorial planning processes that respect the relationship of indigenous peoples with forests, such as the Sierra del Divisor National Park and the population that surrounds it.
 Association of 5 peasant communities and 1 native community, whose territories were superimposed on the Sierra del Divisor Reserved Zone.
 Preliminary version of the Anthropological Contingency Plan of the Sierra del Divisor National Park.
 Supreme Decree No. 002-2018-MC.
 The Multisectoral Commission led by the Ministry of Culture approved the preliminary studies to recognize the proposal for the Sierra del Divisor Occidental Indigenous Reserve on July 24, 2018.