Instituto Terroá: Terroá assists communities from the Beira-Amazonas region in Amapá, Brazil, to establish a Community Protocol

Instituto Terroá: Terroá assists communities from the Beira-Amazonas region in Amapá, Brazil, to establish a Community Protocol

Together with other partners, Instituto Terroá facilitated the process that established a crucial instrument of territorial management and sustainable use of natural resources in the Amazon region.

Assisted by Terroá and partner organizations, members of seven different communities gathered near the mouth of the Macacoari river in the state of Amapá, Brazil, established on 16 February a Community Protocol that will help them make collective decisions affecting the territory where they live. The instrument also promotes the articulation of local actors, strengthens the management of natural resources, and regulates the governance of the territory where the communities of Ipixuna Miranda, Rio Bacaba, Igarapé do Amazonas, Foz do Macacoari, Uruá, Ilha da Croa da Pedreira, and São Tomé and Ipixuna Grande live.

Based on the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Community Protocol “is a territorial management tool that can contribute to the strengthening of communities in the Beira-Amazonas region, helping them think about the development of their region in a collective manner”, emphasized Mariana Chaubet. Mariana is the local coordinator of Oficina Escola de Lutheria da Amazônia — OELA, a local non-governmental organization responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Protocol and assisting community members together with Terroá, the organizations Imaflora, Interelos, ACTB, AmazonBai and the State University of Amapá (UEAP).

This particular form of participatory agreement, known as "free, prior and informed consent (FPIC)", is one of the principles of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 and guides the methodology used to establish the protocol. The goal is that the methodology offers only the necessary instruments for community members, who remain in charge of all stages of the process, to reach an agreement and establish the protocol, thus ensuring its legitimacy.

During the meeting, the head of the Association of Agro-extractivist Producers of Bailique (ACTB), Geová Alves, shared the experience of the Bailique Community Protocol, which has been an important instrument for his community to manage their activities in the Bailique Archipelago, also located in the state of Amapá. Alves shared some of the challenges his community faced while designing the protocol years ago and clarified issues raised by the audience. Besides, he highlighted the main achievements brought about by the protocol established by his community, such as the foundation of the AmazonBai Cooperative and the Technological Vocation Center of Bailique.

David Escaquete, Strategy and Sustainability Manager at Terroá and one of the facilitators of the meeting, emphasizes that “the Protocol can contribute to the strengthening of territorial value chains, such as açaí and shrimp. It can be an important way to promote sustainable production and a more inclusive economy, as well as the conservation of biodiversity and the empowerment of local populations”.

The representative of the Ilha da Crua da Pedreira community, Ana Cláudia Gonçalves Dias, reported that the protocol is “something new, an innovation for the communities”. For her, “it will be crucial in that new directions will be defined collectively and young people will have more opportunities in their own territory”.

Attending the meeting as a member of the management committee of the Igarapé Amazonas community, José Saraiva Trindade stressed the relevance of the initiative against the background of recent political developments in Brazil. For him, “as the current government takes a dim view of social movements, we need to strengthen ourselves by building networks and finding partners to demand public policies, whichvery often do not even reach us. We need to be organized, and the Protocol helps us do that”. Junia Ruggiero, certification coordinator at Imaflora, also emphasized the importance of networking and the creation of partnerships: “in the current political situation, it is essential to strengthen collective initiatives like this. It is also part of our mission to exchange technical certification knowledge with traditional knowledge ... and this joint work is our greatest motivation”.

During the meeting, participants also came up with a series of recommendations concerning the next steps. In March, a series of workshops and follow-up meetings will take place, so that communities can devise actions on important topics affecting their territory. These topics are, for example, the access to genetic heritage and associated traditional knowledge, priority productive chains, public policies, opportunities for the differentiation and traceability of forest products, among other issues that the communities, in a collective way, deem important for territorial development.