Writes: Lelis Rivera
Six years have passed since the former - Zona Reservada Güeppí was categorized with the creation of the Güeppi - Sekime National Park and the two communal reserves Airo Pai and Huimeki, becoming the ANP complex of Güeppí in Loreto. This is a link of great importance for the great trinational conservation corridor in the extreme north of Peru, integrated with the La Paya National Park in Colombia and the great Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve in Ecuador. Its management, harmoniously, is part of the objectives of the Peru, Ecuador and Colombia Trinational Program.
The Center for the Development of the Amazonian Indigenous (CEDIA) has been involved since 2009 in this large area of the Amazon that includes the Putumayo and Napo river basins. From the beginning, the intervention strategy was aimed at involving the strengthened and formalized indigenous populations in the categorization process, which had begun several years earlier. In 2010, the transfer of competences for the legal physical sanitation of the communal territories to the Regional Governments was timely, since it allowed us to support the sanitation of property in 06 communities adjacent to the Complex and expand another 2 communities. At the same time, the socialization of the categorization proposal was crucial, emphasizing the instances and sectors of the State involved and the role of each one in approving the categorization. This dissipated tensions between the communities and SERNANP since it was always believed that this was the only institution involved.
Since then, participation has been the essential element in all processes related to the management of the ANP, such as the Master Plan of the Güeppí Sekime National Park, approved in 2014; and the Creation of the Administration Contract Executor (ECA) for the Airo Pai Communal Reserve, ECA Sieko Pai, which signed its Administration Contract with SERNANP the first week of April of this year.
Within the framework of these participatory processes between the Putumayo and Napo basins, in which the Secoya and Kichwa communities participated, accompanied by their representative organizations, they have requested to expand the Airo Pai Communal Reserve towards the right bank of the Napo until reaching to the Curaray River, as they argue that it is an area of great biodiversity, of conserved forests and especially with large bodies of water, which provide food resources to the neighboring communities.
CEDIA has compiled abundant information on this area of the interfluvium between the Napo and Curaray rivers and this is what it has found:
1.- It is a priority Zone for the Conservation of Loreto, ratified by Ordinance No. 025-2016-GRL-CR.
2.- Part of this area is overlapped with a proposal for an Indigenous Reserve (IR) for PIACI formulated by AIDESEP more than 10 years ago and that has not yet begun the Preliminary Recognition Studies (EPR) to determine the viability of the indigenous Reserve .
3.- A Diagnosis of the ownership, tenure and use of land, as well as natural resources of the Alto Napo and Curaray basins, was developed; where around 22 native communities pending legal physical sanitation were identified, of which 6 are in the Curaray basin and 16 in Alto Napo.
4.- There are 2 oil lots in the production phase.
5.- The area between the Curaray and Napo rivers in Peru, borders the Yasuni National Park of Ecuador and is only separated by the imaginary border line.
6.- The southern part of the proposed expansion of the area corresponds to a Permanent Production Forest (BPP) without concessions delivered to date.
The information found and some actions developed, have led the Native Communities and their Organizations OISPE, ORKIWAN and, now the communities of the Curaray with their Organization FECONACU, to formally ratify their request to SERNANP to expand the Airo Pai Communal Reserve in this interfluvium. where rich forests and without real rights that prevent this expansion have already been determined.
Our commitment to the communities and support for SERNANP, as well as respect for AIDESEP's initiative on IR, has led us to plan the following actions:
a) Obtain financial resources to support MINCUL, develop the EPR, and determine the next steps for the establishment of the IR.
b) Support the sanitation of all the native communities of the Area.
c) The participation of the Peruvian Amazon Research Institute (IIAP) has been committed to carry out a Rapid Social Biological Inventory (IBSR) in order to determine the main values of the area.
d) Support SERNANP in the formulation of the first draft of the technical file of the proposed expansion of the RN Airo Pai, taking into account the results of the IBSR.
Our experience of coordinated work with indigenous peoples and SERNANP has given us the certainty that when ANP's proposals respond to the need to protect ancestral places, the conservation of biodiversity and other values are guaranteed. Our insistence with the protection of the sacred place, scene of the Machiguenga and Yine Yami myths, the area adjacent to the Pongo de Maenique, after 16 years of insistence and a Rapid Biological Inventory carried out by The Field Museum of Chicago, it is now the National Sanctuary Megantoni. The same happened with the ANP complex of Vilcabamba and the Matsés National Reserve, which is one of the most biodiverse places in Loreto.
The particularity of these initiatives, which became important ANPs of SINANPE, is that they were proposed by organized and healthy indigenous communities and organizations; Added to this are the Güeppí ANP's Complex and the Sierra del Divisor National Park; in which the neighboring native communities, under a vision of Participatory Conservation, became the main allies for the conservation of these areas. This encourages us to continue supporting the initiative of indigenous peoples committed to expanding the Airo Pai Communal Reserve.
A landscape made up of Indigenous territories with native communities and Indigenous Reserve, ANP or ACR, concessions and other rights, managed responsibly under an integrated participatory conservation management approach, with control and surveillance systems, is absolutely possible. The normative base exists, what is needed is to bring the sectors closer together, to establish strong links based on this objective.