CI has been instrumental in the establishment and achievements of Guatemala’s Grupo Promotor (GP) for indigenous peoples and conservation – a working group that comprises CI and 10 other partners including indigenous groups, conservation organizations, academic institutions and government agencies.
The main objectives of the GP include shaping national policies to include the needs of indigenous peoples; helping indigenous peoples participate in national and global policy discussions; creating new governance frameworks for protected areas and the participation of indigenous peoples in managing them; and promoting indigenous traditional knowledge through the production of environmental education materials in three indigenous languages.
To date, the GP has helped to ensure indigenous participation in Guatemala’s conservation planning processes. GP efforts facilitated the involvement of indigenous representatives in developing Guatemala’s first National Strategy on Communal Lands, marking a significant departure from past exclusionary practices against the country’s large indigenous population. Indigenous participation is vital in such processes because these communities often are the stewards of important biodiversity and bring unique perspectives to the planning table. The GP members will work with indigenous partners to design community-management models and, during the next stage of dialogue, present them to Guatemala’s National Council on Protected Areas (CONAP) for approval and incorporation into the Guatemalan Protected Area System.
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