Colombian National Land Agency and NGO enable titling of eleven indigenous territories

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El Espectador, July 30, 2021

In a joint effort between the NGO the Amazon Conservation Team, the government of the department of Antioquia and the Colombian National Land Agency, 924 families from the Sinú, Emberá Chamí, Emberá Eyábida and Gunadule peoples established or expanded their reserves.

The Las Playas reserve, where the community of the Emberá Katío people lives. Mateo Medina / ACT.

In a joint effort between the Colombian National Land Agency, the government of the department of Antioquia and the NGO the Amazon Conservation Team, seven indigenous reserve creations and four reserve expansions were achieved in seven municipalities of the department of Antioquia and Chocó.

Indigenous groups of the Sinú, Emberá Chamí, Emberá Eyábida and Gunadule peoples, representing 924 families, were the beneficiaries of the creation and expansion of the following reserves: Puerto Claver, Omagá, San Antonio 2, Leonardo José Campanario, Zince La 18, Altos del Tigre, La Sardina, Korodo Ite, Las Playas, Cayman Nuevo and Arquía.

“The formalization of indigenous territories, through the procedures of reserve constitution and expansion, ensures territorial rights, socioeconomic stabilization, food security, self-governance or autonomy, all of which favor the conservation of the communities’ uses and customs for their survival as indigenous peoples. In this regard, we continue working to bring a ‘Peace with Legality’ to every corner of the country and supporting the various communities in their formalization processes.”

Myriam Carolina Martínez, general director of the Colombian National Land Agency

For Carolina Gil, director of the Amazon Conservation Team, formalizing and recognizing the land rights of these communities is the best way to ensure the physical existence of the indigenous peoples.

“This ensures the survival of their cultural and traditional systems, and the reciprocal relationship that these peoples have with the territory. That has been our focus of work at the Amazon Conservation Team for more than 25 years, as it is the indigenous and tribal peoples who ensure that large areas of land maintain high levels of conservation. As the United Nations points out, indigenous lands represent about 20 percent of the earth, containing 80 percent of the planet’s biodiversity. Therefore, promoting the sovereignty of indigenous peoples and their collective rights over land is a minimum condition of justice that as a society we have the duty to recognize and guarantee, and one that the Amazon Conservation Team honors through this formalization.”

Carolina Gil, director of the Amazon Conservation Team Colombia

In Colombia, there are 115 recognized indigenous peoples, including indigenous peoples in isolation. Collective ownership of reserves in Colombia represents approximately 46% of the country’s natural forest.

The Amazon Conservation Team partners with indigenous and other local communities to protect tropical forests and strengthen traditional culture.

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