Monday, 19th of June 2017. Last Friday seven ambassadors of the European Union visited the Indigenous Community of Santa Teresita, located in the District of Yarinacocha, Pucallpa – Ucayali.
During the excursion, the delegation of the ambassadors of the European Union, Germany, Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Belgium, together with the expert of Tropical Silviculture, Markku Kanninen – Winner of the Nobel Prize 2007 – and other officials, received a deeper understanding of the functioning of the indigenous monitoring system lead by the Organización Regional Aidesep Ucayali (ORAU), supported by Inspectors, legal promoters and Agents of Protection (PIACI).
The President of ORAU, Mr. Lizardo Cauper Pezo, explained the delegation that the monitoring system is the key to a comprehensive handling of the indigenous territory: “with the monitoring system we are taking care of our ancient lands, our woodland, our rivers and our wildlife for the wellbeing of the communities that live with them. With our survival and the respect of our rights, the conservation of the biodiversity and a sustainable living we do protect our mother earth for the benefit of mankind.”
At the moment we are waiting for the Regional Government of Ucayali to approve the regional decree, pushed by ORAU, for the official recognition of the comprehensive indigenous monitoring. This will allow for more security to all the people involved in the monitoring activities defending the right of life, health, territory, and a healthy environment for the population, facing heavy risks from illegal activities.
This visit was part of the project “Fortaleciendo la vigilancia indígena”, deployed by the indigenous organizations ORAU, COMARU, CARE and ACODECOSPAT in coordination with Derecho, Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), and with the support of the European Union.
Monitoring the Forest
The forest Inspector, Julio César Urquía, one out of 32 forest Inspectors of ORAU who are working on the handling and the treatment of the community living in the forest, presented the ambassadors the monitoring system and the main features of this initiative that was founded by ORAU and now is replicated on a national and international level.
The work of the forest Inspectors contains to explain the indigenous communities how to use the forest in a sustainable way, train them to negotiate adequately with big enterprises to avoid the abuse of the forest by woodcutter, or to fine them adequately.
Monitoring the impact of petroleum production
Edinson Cupertino, legal promoter of the CNN Canaán of Chachyacu, a community that suffers from the impact of 40 years of oil explotation from the lot 31-B, was in charge to present their work to the ambassadors.
The legal promoters monitor and train the communities in order that they can defend their rights and alert the officials when help is needed. ORAU has installed this system of monitoring in its organic structure and likewise all the forest inspectors are trained to defend the rights of the indigenous population. This system has been established seven years ago and DAR is supporting it with technical expertise.
Monitoring of the Indigenous Reservations and Territories
Néstor Sánchex, ex-Agent of protection (PIACI), showed the delegation the principles and targets of the program of ORAU that works in coordination with the Ministry of Culture to prevent the harassment of the Indigenous Reservations in Ucayali deriving from illegal operations in the area. Operations like mining, illegal deforestation or invaders, mark a real threat to the survival of communities in isolation.
In the light of this threat three different categorizations of Indigenous Territory have been defined. It is supervised by ORAU with the support of a special software for the systematization of the Register of the Agent PIACI, who are actualizing at the moment in order to integrate all three systems of monitoring of ORAU.
We hope that this visit has opened the doors for further collaboration in order to improve the handling of forest protection and the protection of the rights of indigenous communities as well as the protection of the defenders of those same rights.