This article has been translated into English within the PerMondo initiative. PerMondo offers the free translation of websites and documents for NGOs so they can spread their message. A project managed by the translation agency Mondo Agit. Voluntary translators: William Mastick, Isobel White & John Ryan-Mills; Proofreaders: Lauren Hornsey & Marie Wilson.
THE NETHERLANDS FUND FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROJECTS
IN THE BIOGEOGRAPHICAL REGION OF CHOCÓ. THE ECOFONDO-NETHERLANDS FUND - FHE
In the year 2000, the ECOFONDO Corporation and the Embassy of the Netherlands launched an alliance in order to support environmental, community-based projects in the Biogeographical Region of Chocó. In October of that year, they signed Contribution Agreement CO 004107.
Aim: Co-financing NGO-run environmental projects, alongside community-based and ethnic-territorial organizations in the Colombian Biogeographical Region of Chocó.
Specific aims: The supported projects were aimed at:
Conservation, management, handling and/or balanced and sustainable use of the rainforest and other terrestrial ecosystems in the region, biodiversity, and/or endangered species.
Land-use management and planning alongside sustainable agriculture and forestry, contributing to the conservation of the tropical rainforests and/or biodiversity.
Protection of the rights to the Earth and its use on behalf of the local population (especially people of color and indigenous people).
Improving the position and level of participation of local communities (especially people of color and indigenous people) and/or of local NGOs in the conservation and management of nature and in the formulation of policies aimed at the rainforest.
Environmental education, (and) raising awareness aboutthe need for conservation of the rainforests and biodiversity.
Keeping in mind the opinions, experience, indigenous knowledge and the needs of local communities, always on the basis of the possibility of a collaborative approach and bearing in mind aspects of gender.
Duration: October 31, 2000 - June 30, 2005
Supported Organizations. In compliance with the Fund’s strategic guidance, the projects’ implementing organizations were those with an emphasis on ethnic-territorial processes: community councils - indigenous tribes, followed by NGOs which were for the most part relatedto ethnic groups. The numerical distribution of the organizations, according to type, was as follows:
Community Councils: 16 projects
Indigenous Councils: 6 projects
NGOs: 15 projects
Geographical coverage. The distribution of projects by departments was: Chocó: 13, Cauca: 4, Valle del Cauca: 5, Córdoba: 1, Nariño: 13, Antioquia: 1.
Distribution by thematic areas. The distribution of each of the thematic areas considered in ECOFONDO’s General Manual of Projects was as follows:
Environmental management in the wilderness and sustainable management of biodiversity: 11.
Environmental management in agroecosystems: 25.
Urban Environmental Management: 1.
Organizations and Projects. The following are some of the organizations and the projects which were supported.
Native Council of Puerto Pizario. Assessment of naturally and culturally significant wildlife in the Indigenous Reservation of Puerto Pizario (Chocó) in order to design and implement guidelines and regulations for the management of flora and fauna in the community.
Native Council of Tío Silirio. Participatory appraisal of flora and fauna used by the community of Tío Silirio, Bajo San Juan, in the Colombian Pacific Coast. Aimed at forming and putting management guidelines into practice.
Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera. Environmental guidance and land management with the aim of conserving biodiversity and strengthening sustainable production of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera, in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Community Council of Bajo Mira and Frontera. Strategies for land management, management of protection areas of biodiversity, promotion of sustainable production and organizational strengthening of the Community Council of Bajo Mira and Frontera, in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Community Council of Río Mayorquín. Regeneration and protection of naturally wooded areas, establishment of reserve areas, regeneration and improvement of traditional systems of production through a strategy, based on agro-ecology and organizational strengthening in the basins of the Yurumanguí, Raposo, Mayorquín, and Anchicayá rivers.
Community Council of Imbilpí del Carmen. Formulation of a comprehensive environmental management plan, promotion of agroecological production and establishment of a reserve and conservation area for biodiversity throughout the territory presided over by the Community Council of Imbilpí del Carmen.
Community Council of Rescate Las Varas. Strategies for land management, management of protected biodiversity areas, promotion of sustainable production and organizational strengthening of the Community Council of Rescate Las Varas, in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Community Council of Río Gualajo.Creation of an environmental management plan to conserve biodiversity, the promotion of agroecological production and organizational strengthening in the Community Council of Río Gualajo, in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Community Council of Río Mejicano. Organizational strengthening of the Community Council of Río Mejicano, via the creation of an environmental management plan, collective land management, protection of biodiversity, and improvement of the traditional agricultural system.
Community Council of Río Tablón Dulce. Environmental guidance and land managementwith the aim of conserving biodiversity and strengthening the Community Council of Río Tablón Dulce’s sustainable production in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Community Council of Río Tablón Salado. Environmental guidance and land management with the aim of conserving biodiversity and strengthening the Community Council of Río Tablón Salado’s sustainable production in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Joint Community Council of Río Chagüi. Environmental guidance and land managementwith the aim of conserving biodiversity and strengthening the Joint Community Council of Río Chagüi’s sustainable production, in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Joint Community Council of Río Rosario. Proposal for land management, the conservation of biodiversity and strengthening of sustainable production from the Joint Community Council of Río Rosario, in the Municipality of Tumaco.
Regional Corporation of In-home Services in El Plan Patía – CORPATÍA. Regeneration and repopulation of microbasins and implementation of agroecological systems in peasant farms of the sub-basin of the Capitanes River, El Estrecho, Patía, in the Department of Cauca.
Foundation for Rainforest Habitats. Environmental management for conservation and preservation of biodiversity and wildlife in natural rainforest habitats and their buffer areas, in the Municipality of Barbacoas.
Foundation for Popular Communication – FUNCOP. Development and promotion of agroecological production systemsfor farmers of 3 counties of the medium basin of Ríosucio-Patía in El Tambo-Cauca.
Campesino Association of Baudó – ACABA. Communal beacons for sustainable agroecological production as components for research within the strategy phase of biodiversity conservation in the Baudó River Basin.
Mutual Association of La Esperanza de El Tamo – ASMET. Agroforestal research with green and organic manures for the regeneration of soil in the Southern Zone of the Municipality of Tambo - Cauca.
Main Indigenous Council of the Pacific Coast – CAMIZOP. Territorial and environmental control of the Embera people of the Pacific Coast.
Main Indigenous Council of Alto Baudó. Territorial and environmental control of the Embera people of Alto Baudó.
Changing Hands – Association of Workers. Restoration and updating of the Collective Memory around the Integrated Cultural Vision of the Land, in the Lower Part of the Micay River Basin, Caucana Pacific Coast.
Community Council of the Afro-Colombian Community of Sabaletas. Changing production processes through sustainable agroecological systems in the Afro-Colombian Community of Sabaletas, in the municipality of Buenaventura, Cauca Valley.
Community Council of San Francisco de Ichó. Proposals to rejuvenate and improve agricultural, technical and organizational production, for a better quality of life and sustainable use and management of natural resources, validated and implemented by the community of San Francisco de Ichó, Quibdó, - Chocó.
Local Community Council of the Community of Villa Nueva. Agricultural production model proposals, technological research and application of community legislation about natural resources, created and validated by community-based organizations from the Afro-Colombian people of the Munguidó River Basin – Chocó.
Local Community Council of Tanguí. Proposals for research and technical development of the traditional production system, with an emphasis on the fishing sub-system and legislation in the use of natural resources from the basin of the Medio Atrato, validated by the Afro-Colombian community.
Michitá Corporation. Environmental Station “Pandó” in the Municipality of Quibdó, Chocó.
Biozoo Foundation. Management plan and genetic study of species of paca in closed captivity in the town of Tierralta, in the department of Córdoba.
Central Foundation for Pacific Research - CENIPACÍFICO. Management plan for Ecotourism in Bahía Málaga.
Phoenician Ecological Foundation for Natural Protection - FEDENA. Proposals for conservation, agroforestal production, and sustainable management of the Microbasins of the Azul River, the Subbasin of the Calima River and the Tesorito River and Riofrío River in the buffer area of Páramo del Duende, with the participation of local communities.
Espavé Foundation. Eco-production alternative: A model for the use and management of herbs for the Colombian Pacific, for the network of Afro-Colombian Women of Tanando (Municipality of Quibdó - Department of Chocó).
FES Social Foundation in La Planada. Implementation of agrosilvopastoral systems for the conversion of deforestation in a zone of cloud forests in the Southwest of Nariño, Colombia.
Foundation for Research, Dissemination, and Sustainable Development of Aquaculture and Natural Hydrological Resources in Colombia - FUNDEMAR. Protection towards sustainable management from Demersal Fish-eating populations of PNN Gorgona and an area of influence, supported by engaged social actors.
Social Foundation of Unibán FUNDAUNIBAN - Precooperative Recycling and Industrialization GESTA. Creation of employment and environmental and technical solutions.
Main Indigenous Council of Bojayá. Strengthening of the traditional production system, based on agroecology as a conservation strategy to enhance environmental variables.
Main Indigenous Council of the Zone of Juradó - CAMAIBO. Strengthening of the traditional production system, using agroecology as a base for a conservation strategy to enhance environmental variables.
Natural Reserves of Regional Civil Society of the Valle de Cuaca – REVACA. Promotion and consolidation of Natural Reserves of Civil Society in the biogeographical region of Chocó, in the Valle de Cauca.
From a total of 37 approved projects, 30 were brought to completion, 2 were carried out but not completed, and 5 were aborted for different reasons.
All of the projects contributed to the “Conservation, management, handling and/or balanced and sustainable use of the rainforest and other terrestrial ecosystems in the region, of biodiversity, and/or of endangered species”:
Models for the conservation of wilderness areas and sustainable management of biodiversity, associated with productive agroecological processes; involving legislation for use and management of more than 100 species of fauna and more than 100 species of flora at certain degrees of vulnerability, through community-based legislation, bans, and other use restrictions, were the basic strategy through which the projects achieved this objective from the Fund.
Through the co-financed projects, “planning of land use, territorial planning alongside sustainable agriculture and forestry” was encouraged, contributing in this way “to the conservation of the tropical rainforests and/or biodiversity.”
All in all, the projects from the thematic areas of Wilderness Areas and Agroecosystems planned the use and carried out environmental management of collectively-held territories of different ethnic groups and natural reserves in 201,011,765 ha
Equally, 53,228 ha of multiple systems for agroecological production were established, culturally and ecologically appropriate to ecosystems in the biogeographical region covered by the Fund.
With regards to the Fund’s objective referring to defending the “rights to the land and to its use on behalf of local populations (especially black or indigenous communities), 22 of the 37 co-financed projects worked directly in this area, given that their interventions were aimed at strengthening of levels of social and cultural control of the land on behalf of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities such as the Embera and the Wounaan. A significant sample of this work is the development and implementation of the Plans for Integral Environmental Management (PMIA) from the collective territories of ten (10) community Councils from the Ensenada de Tumaco, in an area of 199,889 hectares, with participation and direct benefits for 477 families.
The environmental projects co-financed by the Fund contributed significantly to improving “the position and level of participation of local communities (especially people of color and indigenous people) and/or of local NGOs in the conservation and management of nature and in the formulation of policies aimed at the rainforest”. In fact, active participation in development of processes has been recorded, for example in decision-making and in creation of proposals for land autonomy and public policy, from a total of 52,755 people and 148 local and regional organizations, including agricultural organizations, local community councils and local and zonal indigenous councils, and NGOs headquartered in the region. This work contributed to strengthening community networks, such as the Main Community Council of the Integral Farmers’ Association of Atrato, COCOMACIA, and the network of community Councils of the South Pacific, RECOMPAS, in the area of Tumaco.
The “environmental education(and)awareness of the need for conservation of the forests and biodiversity” were a constant in the 37 projects, since it was included in all of them as an intervention strategy that the Environmental Education associated with practical experience, conservation and agroecological production, alongside organizational strengthening and development of processes of internal and external, local and regional communication.
The predominant emphasis of projects was on minority ethnic groups, (30 projects), in that their implementation originated from “the opinions, experience, indigenous knowledge and the needs of local communities”, in the framework of life plans and ethnodevelopment of Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups. The 37 projects were developed with a focus on participation. Seven (07) projects “took into account aspects of gender”; and seven (07) projects had an emphasis on children.
Results in figures.
Direct beneficiary population: 52,755 people; 148 local and regional organizations.
4633 has, set aside as natural reserves.
Basin regeneration: 13 ha
Polycultures: 423.4 ha
Agroforestry Systems: 81.18 ha, including reforestation of woods
Agrosilvopastoral Systems: 27.7 ha
Protection for natural revegetation: 890.5 ha
Plans for land management and regulation. 201,011.765 ha; Including georeferencing and environmental assessment.
More than 100 species of vulnerable flora and more than 100 species of vulnerable fauna protected through management plans community legislation for use.
Significant increases of Agrobiodiversity in 53,228 ha
Organizational strengthening: More than 100 organizations have been institutionally strengthened by their participation in the projects.
Environmental education: This was an intervention strategy in the 37 projects which were co-financed by the Fund.
30 projects with an emphasis on ethnicity and territory; 7 projects with a perspective on gender; 7 projects specifically working with children.