Titling Indigenous Peoples’ lands and forests
Legal security for the indigenous territories of Madre de Dios and Cusco

The Native Federation of the River Madre de Dios and Tributaries (FENAMAD) accelerated tenure security for Indigenous Peoples, defended the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation or Initial Contact (PIACVI), resolved land conflicts and fostered good forest management in partnership with the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) and the Regional Government of Madre de Dios (GOREMAD). Indigenous territories have insecure tenure throughout Peru and their territories and forests are threatened by overlapping rights, illegal mining and logging, and invasions. In Madre de Dios many Indigenous Peoples’ communities require legal and clarification of their territorial titles. FENAMAD, SPDA and GOREMAD tested a unique partnership between an Indigenous Peoples’ federation, an NGO and a regional government that can be scaled up to resolve longstanding conflicts over land tenure throughout the country.


For the full story of the fight to implement land and forest rights in Peru go to the Timeline.

Five indigenous communities

defined the boundaries of their lands

Secure title enables Indigenous Peoples

to deal with threats from illegal logging and mining

Secured titles for five indigenous communities covering 60,000 hectares and signed an agreement with the Ministry of Culture that includes measures to strengthen systems for protecting Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation in the Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve, which covers more than 800,000 hectares — in 18 months

“In the past, the indigenous territories in Madre de Dios were quite extensive. Unfortunately, our titles did not recognize the full extent of our lands, and we were limited in many ways. We withstood the pressures of miners, invading settlers and authorities who still do not understand the principles by which we live. Historically, we have been the caretakers of all the territory and of all the resources. Our work is of great importance, and not an obstacle to development of the country, as some government officials believe.” — Julio Ricardo Cusurichi, President of FENAMAD


  • Strengthen the capacity of FENAMAD to lead processes that secure the land and forest tenure of Indigenous Peoples and strengthen communities natural resource management as a means of reducing threats to their land and livelihoods
  • Generate and channel legislative and regulatory proposals to improve the legal security of Indigenous Peoples and their collective rights, including the rights of PIACVI


  • Support the full titling of five indigenous communities in Madre de Dios
  • Promote dialogue among indigenous organizations, civil society, and the national government to generate proposals for improved laws and regulations, particularly those related to titling procedures and requirements
  • Strengthen the legal team of FENAMAD to develop a better legal defense system for indigenous communities and PIACVI
  • Develop a proposal for a mechanism to integrate the indigenous territorial cadaster with the national property cadaster
  • Train and provide technical assistance to youth and community forest monitors in community forest management, and assist in formalizing communities´legal access to forest resources


  • Advanced titles and consolidated land-use plans for five Indigenous Peoples’ communities covering 64,000 hectares and home to a population of 890 people
  • Developed a signed agreement with the Ministry of Culture to carry out joint actions in favor of indigenous peoples in Madre de Dios, including measures to strengthen systems for protecting peoples in voluntary isolation in the Madre de Dios Territorial Reserve, which covers more than 800,000 hectares
  • Improved management of 27,000 hectares of titled forest
  • Resolved a conflict over 3,000 hectares between an indigenous territory and a tourist concession
  • Developed a university course in indigenous rights and trained 25 indigenous leaders at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
  • Trained 121 indigenous people in forest monitoring and protection
  • Strengthened the capacity of the Madre de Dios Regional Government to fulfill its responsibilities to ensure and protect the tenure rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest protection
  • Contributed to the Ministry of Culture’s new strategy for strengthening the titling of Indigenous Peoples’ lands
  • Contributed to the Agriculture Committee of the Peruvian Congress’ agenda on issues related to the need for changes to the legal framework for Indigenous Peoples
  • Expanded awareness of solutions to insecure land tenure in Peru by publishing “A first look: the legal situation of rural land tenure in Peru” a book by SPDA recommending policy and regulation reforms
  • Provided technical assistance to the national DISPARC agency and Inter-American Development Bank-funded PTRT3 titling project
  • Supported development of national guidelines for the classification of soils, which is required for titling indigenous community lands


  • Strengthened FENAMAD’s capacity to support communities in the implementation of title and resolution of longstanding conflicts and obstacles to achieving title
  • Pioneered a unique partnership between an indigenous federation, an NGO, and a regional government that can be scaled to resolve longstanding conflicts over land tenure throughout the country.
  • Built momentum for tenure reform at the national level, particularly in relation to titling processes
  • Created the conditions for reduced levels of conflict and deforestation in Madre de Dios region
  • Positioned indigenous groups to protect land, forest and water, and improve livelihoods


From: 14 October 2015
To: 15 April 2017



Native Federation of the River Madre de Dios and Tributaries (FENAMAD)

Peruvian Environmental Law Society (SPDA)


Madre de Dios Regional Government (GOREMAD)


Indigenous communities of Madre de Dios and Cusco

Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation or Initial Contact (PIACVI)

Regional Government of Madre de Dios (GOREMAD)


Peru's Boca Pariamanu

community defines its territorial boundaries

Indigenous Peoples' territories visible

on Peru's first Indigenous Peoples' mapping platform

Defending the territory and safety

of Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation

Report on tenure reform

proposes solutions to insecure land tenure in Peru

Lessons Learned

  • It is important to build the capacity of regional Indigenous Peoples’ organizations to provide the technical support and representation that indigenous communities need to resolve land conflicts and gain title to their lands and forests.
  • Strategic partnerships with authorities, such as regional governments, can advance recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ land and forests, even in adverse political situations.
  • A flexible approach and adaptive management enabled the project to respond to major institutional changes within FENAMAD and its partners. This provides lessons for the design of other Tenure Facility initiatives.
  • When new leaders of an Indigenous Peoples’ or community organization are elected, it may be useful to pause the process, engage the new leaders and build understanding of the strategies, goals and activities of the project.
  • The hiring of technicians to work directly in regional government organizations to further demarcation and cadastral updating was effective in overcoming limitations in government capacity.
  • Conflicts with private-sector companies present huge obstacles to communities seeking recognition of their lands. It is important to assess and address power relations among stakeholders when seeking solutions. Making concessions in negotiations can in some cases secure longer term solutions.