The III Latin America and Caribbean Protected Areas Congress (LACPAC), was held in Lima, Peru on 14-17 October 2019. Under the theme “Solutions for welfare and sustainable development”, the Congress provided a space for experience exchange, debate on the formulation and implementation of public policies, research and academia. The Congress will also reflect the debates and conclusions of the Latin America and Caribbean region in terms of IUCN global events, in particular the World Parks Congress. In this regard, this III Latin American and Caribbean Congress of Protected Areas will incorporate The Promise of Sydney (World Parks Congress 2014) and take a regional position to the next IUCN World Conservation Congress, in 2020.
In this context, the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by UNDP, organized and/or contributed to multiple side events. Led by Dr. Terence Hay-Edie (SGP Biodiversity Advisor), the SGP was represented by 9 SGP National Coordinators (NCs) and 18 indigenous and community leaders implementing SGP projects from Argentina, Belize, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname and 2 SGP Indigenous Peoples National Fellows (Argentina and Guatemala).
Some highlights include: On October 15, at the Community Conservation of Natural Resources in IUCN Pavilion, SGP grantees from Belize, Colombia, Guatemala and Paraguay served as panel members and presented their experiences on community engagement and land management that capture all the dimensions that occur in the territory: culture, people, institutions, land, customs, and knowledge. Simultaneously, at the Other effective conservation measures (OECMs): Application of guidelines for identification and reporting in Latin America and the Caribbean. Challenges and opportunities. Ms. Ana Beatriz Barona (SGP NC, Colombia) and Ms. Marcela Santamaria (Resnatur NGO, SGP Grantee) presented on a pilot OECM project in Colombia.
On October 16, Ms. Beatriz Schmidt (SGP NC, Panama) was a panel member on the session Overlaps between Protected Areas and Indigenous and Community-Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA) - TERRITORIES OF LIFE which was aimed at contributing to the publication of the IUCN Protected Areas Commission Series of Good Practice Guidelines. Focusing on the importance of shared governance in overlaps between Protected Areas and ICCAs, Ms. Schmidt shared the challenges and opportunities in two SGP project sites in Panama: Darien National Park, a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO that is widely populated by indigenous peoples and the Filo del Tallo-Canglón Hydrological Reserve. Subsequently, at the session ICCA Network - Territories of Life (Colombia), Ms. Barona shared the strategies, self-strengthening process, lessons learned and results from the 32 ICCA projects in Colombia that are implemented by indigenous groups with collective rights recognition (Afro-Colombian) and those with no title (Campesinos).
On October 17, the SGP organized a side event on its Support to Conserved Areas in LAC towards CBD Aichi Target 11 where Ms. Ana Maria Varea (SGP NC, Ecuador) shared results from community-led projects, while the SGP Argentina team, Mr. Francisco López Sastre (SGP NC) and Mr. Javier Karaí Villalba (SGP Indigenous Peoples Fellow) presented on the transparent process and engagement of IPs in the project life cycle process – and their central role in nature conservation.
SGP strongly collaborated with its partners for the Global Support Initiative to Indigenous and Community-Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA-GSI) by presenting pragmatic examples in their side events. At the Natural Justice-organized side event, Legal Framework, Public Policies and Indigenous and Community Strategies, 4 case studies from the ICCA-GSI projects implemented by SGP were presented. Additionally, SGP supported and participated in the ICCA Consortium’s General Assembly on 13-14 October which developed a regional statement from the Consortium members. This statement was presented in a high-level closing segment of the LACPAC, attended by over 2,000 delegates, on October 17. Moreover, SGP actively participated in side events organized by the ICCA Consortium at the Congress including: (i) Other effective conservation measures based on areas: Application of Guidelines for Identification and Reporting in Latin America and the Caribbean. Challenges and opportunities. (ii) Cultural and Ancestral Values; (iii) Contributions of ICCAs to Aichi Targets and Sustainable Development Objectives; (iv) Indigenous People in Isolation: Protection of Law and Conservation in the Amazon and Gran Chaco and (v) ICCA Network - Territories of Life (Colombia).
SGP and the ICCA-GSI global project provided logistical and financial support to the Indigenous Maloca which hosted events organized by indigenous peoples networks in the LAC region including FENAMAD, AIDESEP, COICA and a numerous others.