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Areas occupied by hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples are mapped on a groundbreaking new map of Central America. According to the map’s creators, the wealth of new information could help protect valuable areas from deforestation and harmful development.
Indigenous People In Central America
Funded by the Danish government, National Geographic and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the main goal of the map is to encourage respect for indigenous peoples’ land rights and more sustainable use of forests and other valuable areas. that employ them.
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Indigenous groups and governments join IUCN to map the incredible ecosystems under Indigenous stewardship. (Credit: International Union for Conservation of Nature)
According to the creators, this is the most comprehensive map ever of the areas occupied by 80 different canvases. The map is unprecedented because it uses the indigenous knowledge of 3,500 indigenous people who have participated in more than 130 mapping workshops across the region.
“This is a map where indigenous areas are mapped by indigenous people who have filled it in with elements of their interest,” McAffin, a technical adviser to the project’s Central American team of experts, said in an IUCN statement. “They really put themselves on the map.”
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It took more than two years to create the map, with the help of surveyors, anthropologists, environmentalists and other experts, who found many previously unmapped indigenous communities, as well as waters missed in satellite images.
Currently, the map is used by indigenous groups whose lands are under increasing threat from loggers, miners, drug traffickers, and other economic and development interests.
It was reported that the people of Nagaba were able to demonstrate that the construction of the Baro Blanco Dam will cause flooding and damage to their territory. In a similar vein, the Mayan community in Guatemala has used map data to claim their rights to ancestral lands that leaders say have been illegally confiscated by palm oil companies.
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That this information can contribute to such gains is especially important after the recent death of Honduran indigenous leader Berta Caceres, who was killed for leading a peaceful protest against the construction of a hydroelectric dam on local land.
“The map is a tool that allows indigenous peoples to promote the recognition, respect and promotion of their rights,” said Ramiro Betzin, a representative of the Socil Association and a member of the Indigenous Council of Central America (CICA), who worked on the map. The Tico Times will serve as an extremely important tool for us to support a greater role for indigenous peoples in the conservation of natural resources, and to open a dialogue with countries and conservation organizations.”
This collaboration between environmentalists, governments and indigenous populations is now more important than ever, as growing evidence shows that forests that are legally recognized and protected by governments often experience less deforestation and lower carbon dioxide emissions.
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In other words, protecting the land rights of traditional people can make a big contribution to mitigating climate change.
“If we want to protect the world’s forests, we must protect the rights of the indigenous peoples and forest communities who have managed their forests sustainably for generations,” said Helen Clark, director of the United Nations Development Program, at the recent signing in New York of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Clarification of local land rights and security of tenure will be a decisive factor in the success of the new global frameworks on climate change and sustainable development.
Lisa Nicola is a reporter from Madrid who covers gender equality, indigenous rights and poverty in Latin America and around the world. Find her on Twitter at @lisanikolau, email @lisa.nikolau or check out her latest work at www.lisanikolau.com. Community radio is needed to strengthen and develop indigenous communities and women to protect human rights. – ADA VILLARREAL, UNIVERSIDAD Indígena DE LA COSTA CARIBE, Nicaragua
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The active participation and decision-making of women was and still is limited in the conservative and patriarchal countries that make up Central America. However, women are working together to make their voices heard through community radio. To support this voice, the first Central American Indigenous Community Radio Conference was held in Naragana, Comarca Guna Yala, Panama, on January 16-17. This important event aims to link the shared experiences of indigenous local broadcasters in Central America to create a regional network that fights for the democratization of the media and the increase of social, cultural and political justice. Cultural Survival, together with partner organizations Fundación Comunicándonos, Asociación Sobrevivencia Cultural, AMARC Central America and Voces Indígenas Panamá hosted the conference.
One of the main goals of this network is to increase and strengthen the participation of native women in community radio and thus create social changes for the women living in these communities. Those local radio stations that support indigenous communities in the region to protect their rights and democratize the media, have provided a space for women to express their concerns and discuss their issues on air.
However, the process is still in its early stages, and there is much more to do. As significant strides are being made toward gender equality in the indigenous community radio movement in Central America, it is important to note the enormous obstacles women devotees face in their efforts to participate in meaningful and sustainable ways. “Getting the participation of indigenous women is a difficult process because as indigenous women we are discriminated against, even in our families and relationships,” said Elsa Chiquito, director of Radio Ixel, Guatemala. “My strategy was to share the importance of women’s participation in community radio, talk about how good it makes me feel and emphasize the changes that can be made with persistence and awareness.”
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During the conference, female participants discussed the limitations and challenges they face in exercising their right to freedom of expression. Even in relatively progressive spaces like community radio, women’s voices are often scorned and ignored. María Requiac of Radio Ixmocan in Guatemala explained that women usually do not make decisions in community radio: “We have to wait for men to make decisions for us, so we want to have these spaces where we can make decisions for our radio and our communities. » Rejcak said she sees this network A suitable space for strengthening women’s leadership.
The passion of women to advance their rights in their communities and beyond was clearly evident at the conference. On the second day of the conference, participants were given the opportunity to sign up for various discussion groups to address some of the most important issues and dilemmas facing indigenous community radio in the region today. The gender group was the first to be filled. The youngest participant at the conference, 16-year-old Leslie Velazquez of Radio Planeta, Guatemala, said, “As young women, we must use the spaces we are invited to participate in to clarify our thoughts. We are an essential part of creating a better future.” Mark Kemp, Senior Vice President For cultural survival he added: “I am honored and privileged to be part of a team that includes so many amazing women. “It’s great to see them in leadership roles and hopefully role models for other women and men in the indigenous community radio movement.”
The CEO of Culture Survival, Susan Benally, made it clear that equal participation of women and men is essential for the conference, a goal that was made possible thanks to the support of a generous grant from the Canal Foundation to support the participation of eight native women in the event. Benally’s vision was realized by the event’s mostly female coordination team, who worked together in order to bring women’s voices to the table at every stage of the planning process. Teresita Orozco, regional promoter at Cultural Survival, said: “Because gender is more than 50/50 the slogans that organizations and government bodies talk about in their gender policies, promoting women’s leadership and raising Men’s ads online is important.
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The Central American Indigenous Community Radio Network was officially launched on January 17 with the establishment of a regional committee that includes representatives from each of the seven Central American countries (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). . In this regional committee, despite the social and cultural barriers, women assumed vital decision-making roles. Carmela Casol Quakes of Radio Tsoltaka Guatemala said: “Women should be present in these spaces because we have the ability, the wisdom, the maturity and the initiative to play important roles in our societies, organizations and societies.
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