650, 000 more hectares titled in the Peruvian Amazon

On 28thMay, Martín Vizcarra, President of the Republic of Peru, participated in a very emotive ceremony in which 66 native communities from Loreto received their land titles granted by the regional government. Twenty-one of these communities received support from the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) as part of the “Titling indigenous territories in Peru” initiative, executed with the support of The Tenure Facility.

These titles will benefit 8003 people from 21 ethnolinguistic groups and have secured 657,921 hectares of forests in the provinces of Alto Amazonas, Datem del Marañon, Loreto, Maynas, Putumayo, Requena and Ucayali.

The Ministers of the Environment, Lucía Ruiz; Agriculture, Fabiola Muñoz; and Health, Elizabeth Tomás; the regional governor of Loreto, Elisbán Ochoa Sosa, and Lizardo Cauper, president of the Interethnic Association for the development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP), were all also present at the ceremony that took place at Loreto´s regional government offices.

“The goal is that by 2021, we finish titling all the communities. Our challenge is to do in two years what has not been done in the last century, and we are going to do it! It is the responsibility that we have assumed”,announced President Vizcarra.

On the same line, the Minister of Agriculture emphasised the need to work on a territory management plan with the communities, as a second step after obtaining land tenure.

Lizardo Cauper, president of AIDESEP, described this moment as “historic” since the indigenous peoples have been demanding these titles be granted for over 40 years. “We know that many communities have been suffering from various threats due to insecure land tenure. The government´s recognition of our ancestral territories will guarantee the food security of our peoples”, said the indigenous leader. He also added that to date AIDESEP has contributed to the titling of about 15 million hectares and will continue to get another 20 million titled.

During a very emotive speech, Luis García Palla, president of the native community “Francisco Bolognesi” of the Tigre River, explained that his community has been waiting for this title since 1943, the year in which his grandfather founded the community. “The title means the conservation of our forests, of our life and of the future that our parents dreamed for us”. He gave special thanks to the Peruvian Society for Environmental Law (SPDA) for their support in the process.

“As SPDA we have supported AIDESEP (the national indigenous organisation); the governing body for land titling at the national level (the Ministry of Agriculture); and the Regional Government of Loreto, as an executing agency. Our job was to accompany each of the instances to ensure the title of each community we have worked with,” said Silvana Baldovino, director of the Program of Biodiversity and Indigenous Peoples of SPDA.

Since 2017, SPDA has contributed to securing land tenure for more than 77,861.80 hectares of indigenous territories in the regions of Loreto and Madre de Dios, as part of the “Titling indigenous territories in Peruproject, funded by The Tenure Facility.