Central Northern Forest Program

Between 2005 and 2017 the Central Northern Forest Program worked in the Peruvian departments of Ucayali and Huánuco towards territorial planning and optimal management for three large territorial mosaics comprising indigenous communities, reserves for indigenous peoples in isolation and protected natural areas. The intervention area the program covers the tributaries of the Ucayali River: Pachitea, Aguaytía, Callería, Utuquinia and Abujao, over 3.5 million hectares of Peruvian Amazon marked by its great cultural and biological diversity.

The main objectives of the program addressed legal security of native communities’ territories, protection of indigenous peoples in isolation and sustainable development of local populations.

Indigenous populations

The intervention area harbors communities belonging to five indigenous peoples: Asháninka, Yanesha, Kakataibo, Shipibo and Isconahua, as well as riverine populations and settlers from the Andes. This territory is also home to indigenous peoples living in isolation, from the Isconahua, Shipibo, and Kakataibo ethnic groups. The former two are protected by a joint territorial reserve created in 1998, while the protection of the latter was requested in 1999 and is still pending.

The project worked towards empowering indigenous peoples and strengthening their political and technical management capacities in order to secure their territorial rights and bring to a halt a series of threats and pressures exerted by illegal/unsustainable exploitation of natural resources. A key training component involved building strategic alliances and establishing effective relations with the private sector and local and regional governments around policies pertaining to the development of indigenous peoples. It also involved governance, administration and institutional management in conservation and environmental management plans.

Strategic services by the program

The consolidation and management of these three areas implied the following objectives:

• Contributing to territorial planning in the intervention area of the program, in order to reduce conflicts issuing from overlapping rights over resources. Legally securing indigenous territories, obtaining property titles for native communities’ territories and territorial reserves for uncontacted indigenous peoples.
• Strengthening the social and cultural capital of communities and their organizations with a view to (i) managing these spaces, (ii) monitoring threats of unauthorized activities, in these territories, and (iii) promoting monitoring strategies for territorial reserves protecting isolated indigenous peoples and adjacent natural protected areas.
• Influencing, together with indigenous and non-indigenous organizations, public policies addressing illegal exploitation of natural resources in forests and bodies of water.

Alliances

IBC worked closely with:

 The Federation of Kakataibo Native Communities (FENACOCA),
 The Federation of Native Communities of the Ucayali and Tributaries (FECONAU),
 The Federation of Native Communities of Puerto Inca and Tributaries (FECONAPIA),
 The Ucayali Regional Organization (ORAU).

Additionally, it worked with local governments, various branches of the Ucayali Regional Government, and civil society organizations. Coordinated actions by these organizations sought to influence public policies related to indigenous territories legal security. Two key aspects were environmental and sustainable resource management for forests and water bodies. This requires putting in place surveillance systems for communities’ territories and protected natural areas – including territorial reserves for uncontacted indigenous peoples.

In order to gain legal protection for the Kakataibo uncontacted peoples, work was done in coordination with local indigenous federations in order to incorporate the Kakataibo Territorial Reserve proposal into the regional agenda. Subsequently, the Regional Government of Ucayali set the protection of the Kakataibo in isolation as a priority under the Plan for the Protection, Defense and Contingency of Uncontacted Indigenous Peoples, drawn up within the framework of a regional ordinance.