La Paz, Bolivia, Dec. 21, 2023—After more than two decades of collaborative efforts, WCS Bolivia, in partnership with four territorial indigenous organizations and their regional body, signed a milestone agreement on October 30, 2023. This initiative marks a key collective step towards autonomous and sustainable territorial management in the Madidi Landscape.

The agreement introduces a permanent financing mechanism for the Tacana, Tsimane´Mosetene, Lecos de Apolo, and Uchupiamonas Indigenous Peoples, in collaboration with the Bolivian conservation fund, FUNDESNAP. This joint mechanism responds to the management vision developed by each Indigenous group, including sustainable livelihoods and the promotion of their collective rights and culture.

"We signed a historic accord thanks to WCS Bolivia's efforts, enabling capacity strengthening and institutional fortification within our territories, aligned with our territorial management goals," said Gonzalo Oliver, a Tacana representative and President of the regional organization of the Indigenous People of La Paz (CPILAP).

Territorial management by the Indigenous communities in the Madidi Landscape is an example of the importance of recognizing indigenous territorial rights, local autonomy, and regulations for the use of natural resources as a means to mitigate extensive forest loss. Specifically, it safeguards wildlife habitat corridors within indigenous territories, critical for species with expansive spatial requirements like jaguars and white-lipped peccaries.

Indigenous management also ensures aquatic connectivity, maintains breeding grounds for migratory fish species, and supports sustainable subsistence hunting by Indigenous communities. It also plays a crucial role in reducing forest loss in erosion-prone regions along the Andean foothills and flood-prone areas in the province of Iturralde.

“This is the culmination of a conservation process that has had Indigenous Peoples' rights at its heart from the onset. The future of the Amazon depends on the knowledge and agency of Indigenous People,” said Lilian Painter, director of WCS Bolivia.

Secured funds will be allocated for infrastructure, equipment, monitoring, surveillance, operational costs, territorial oversight, tourism, and natural resource management projects. Cooperation with other institutions aim to establish a long-term autonomous financing mechanism. These efforts not only have local implications but also align with international policies, respecting Indigenous Peoples' rights and enabling direct access funds for Indigenous groups. The initial phase of this endeavor is receiving support from the Bezos Earth Fund.