Consolidation of tenure and capacity building of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama

The National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP) are continuing their work in this second project phase contributing directly to the protection and planning of Comarcas and collective lands in Panama. The aim is to consolidate tenure through ensuring the land and forests located in Indigenous territories continue to be protected, providing cultural, social, and environmental services to the Indigenous Peoples and to the country.


From: 01/04/2021

To: 31/12/2022

Budget: $2,000,000

Proponents: National Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples in Panama (COONAPIP), with grant administration by Program for Social Promotion and Development (PRODESO)

Partners: Traditional authorities of: the Ngäbe-Buglé district, Wargandi district, Emberá-Wounaan district, Guna Yala district, Madungandi district, Naso Tjër Di district
Emberá Wounaan Collective Lands
Emberá-Wounaan Collective Lands of Alto Bayano; Tule de Tagarkunyal Ancestral Territory, Bribri Territory, Buglé Territory
the National Congress of the Wounaan People.

Associates: Government of Panama: National Land Administration Authority (ANATI)
Ministry of Environment
National Commission for Political and Administrative Limits
Vice Ministry of Indigenous Affairs
Office of the People’s Ombudsman
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Stakeholders: The Indigenous Peoples and their communities, represented by their traditional authorities, are part of congresses and councils of the 7 indigenous peoples in Panama.
COONAPIP as a national coordinating body.
Government agencies in charge of granting collective titles
Government bodies in charge of looking after the good execution of the indigenous policies, and bodies in charge of environmental management.

This project builds up on the results of the Phase 1 project, which achieved unity of Panama’s Indigenous peoples and the creation of Naso Tjër Di Comarca, where a total of 160,000 hectares were legally protected in favour of the Naso people, making it possible to grant approval to requests for collective titles in protected areas. 

The consolidation of existing tenure through working within territories where legal security has been achieved is the overarching concept of this second phase. Through continuing capacity building of these communities and their leaders, it will continue to promote the collective land applications that have already advanced through the demarcation stage. It also benefits the country of Panama as a whole, due to valuable biological and cultural diversity in these regions. 

This second phase will make advances with six applications in the land titling process, with 1,724 Indigenous communities benefiting. Twelve territorial plans will be prepared, one by Indigenous territory of which six territorial plans will be implemented. Ten percent (15,400 ha) of illegally invaded and occupied lands will be recovered. This sets a legal precedent not only at the national level but also at the regional level, where the overlapping territories-protected areas were a reason for not legally recognizing indigenous lands for years.


To read a brief overview of Panama, click here.

For a timeline of land and forest rights in Panama, click here.


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