APA embarks on new project aimed at enhancing protection of indigenous rights

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The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) has embarked on a new project geared at enhanced protection of indigenous rights, the forest, and the environment.

The project, “Protecting indigenous rights, the forest and the environment in Guyana” is being supported with funds from the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI), a French Government grant, for the sum of €252,500. The project began in June 2021 and will run for one year with the possibility of renewal for another year.

The project aims to influence national policy towards better forest management and indigenous peoples’ rights; strengthen indigenous peoples governing bodies for improved territorial governance and protection of forests, engage in territorial monitoring in efforts to reduce forest crime; and mainstream women and youths’ involvement in community economies.

It will support the governance and decision making processes of indigenous peoples through their District Councils and other representative bodies, the strengthening of their institutional and technical capacities to monitor their lands, as well as provide some livelihoods support.

The APA said will collaborate with indigenous communities in Regions 1, 7 and 8 through three District Councils, including the Upper Mazaruni District Council, North Pakaraimas District Council and the Moruca District Council.

The APA believes that new revenue from Guyana’s offshore oil development can either be spent in ways that protect forests and achieve sustainable development goals, or it could expose vast portions of the country’s remote interior to poorly planned infrastructure development and subsequent resource plundering.

This project focuses on win-win strategies, by taking advantage of this critical window in time, including government’s promise to add two million hectares to the country’s protected areas portfolio to provide long term protection to Guyana’s forests and staggering natural beauty.