Peru: Weighing in on Climate Change and Its Impact on Indigenous People

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Update to the Global Board
(April 2009)

In Peru, The Hunger Project (THP) contributes funding to a partner organization, Chirapaq Center for Indigenous Cultures of Peru, for its project on "Strengthening Organization and Networking of Mixed and Indigenous Women's Organizations." This document is Chirapaq's report on this project for the period January-March 2009.

Overview

We can characterize the first quarter as: valuing and acknowledging our progress and advancing the fight against hunger and sustainability.

The Latin American Summit on Climate Change and its Impact on Indigenous Peoples was held within the context of climate vulnerability, increased disease, loss of water sources (Peru has lost 22% in the last 10 years), increasing desertification of soils and poor performance of the production and biodiversity in the countryside. One hundred and fifty leaders of indigenous organizations from Latin America raised their voices against the state policies that result in hunger and poverty and which ignore human rights, specifically of indigenous peoples. (Photo: Latin American Summit on Climate Change. Lima, 24-25 March 2009)

THP's support has helped to ensure the strengthening of Chirapaq's network for the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of South America and the Permanent Forum of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru.

In Peru and through our Permanent Forum, we have strengthened regional platforms in four strategic provinces with large indigenous populations: Ayacucho, Amazonas, Junín and Puno. We have designed action plans for training, organizational strengthening, and monitoring and influencing public policy on issues of food sovereignty, environment, health and education. This has boosted the visibility and activities of 15 indigenous organizations, ensuring the exercise of rights to consultation, participation, food, primary health care and culturally relevant education, for more than 8,000 indigenous women. It has also aided in the development of more inclusive approaches to public officials and development agencies, through public debates on the implementation of programs in our countries, as well as addressing the issue of identity and human rights of indigenous peoples at local and regional levels.

Regarding food sovereignty and climate change, efforts have focused on the control, conservation, biodiversity enhancement and care of water resources; promotion of local markets; the recovery and promotion of traditional technology that is highly adaptable to changing climate conditions; and ensuring that indigenous people are consulted on these issues.

(Note: The UN Conference of Parties to the Convention on Climate Change is coming up this December 7-18 in Copenhagen http://en.cop15.dk/. Many of the actions in this report are designed to maximize the opportunity for improving both the lives and influence of indigenous peoples.)


Details on Progress

During the period January to March 2009, we enhanced the process of decentralization of our Indigenous Women's Program and the Permanent Forum of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru, into four regions and 15 organizations in Ayacucho, Junín, Puno and the Amazon. Our aim was to increase effectiveness in the development of national actions and international impact. This has resulted in the creation of four regional platforms, which seek to coordinate initiatives and monitor activities and impact from the indigenous organizations in each region. This enables each regional platform to develop their own regional action plans, identifying allies and opportunities for public and political impact.

In Ayacucho, the platform is pressing the priorities of self-recognition, intercultural education, violence and the impact of climate change on food sovereignty.

Also, leaders of the Pomatambo Microbasin presented at the Consultative Committee of the Province of Vilcashuamán, the results of parasitological surveys of children under five years of age from 11 Quechua communities in the province, which were carried out in February 2009. This action led to a campaign on food hygiene and health with an emphasis on hand-washing.

In Junín, the regional hub of Central Peru is made up of several indigenous organizations who promote the themes of intercultural education and health in the region.

We promoted participation and channeling of efforts through our regional delegations at a Health Forum in Junín region. In the Andean region of Junín, we are concerned about high levels of suicide among adolescents and youth, family violence and sexual violence. In the Amazon area, we focus on high levels of early pregnancy and inadequate health services. To address this, we are considering the creation of Intercultural Training Institutes for indigenous youth and the creation of a facility where pregnant women in labor can be supported according to their customs and traditions.

In Puno, the Regional Platform consists of indigenous organizations, who under the Permanent Forum of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru, are working for the establishment of the Regional Management of Women in the Puno Region and to control the environmental impacts of mining. In the month of March, there was a landslide at the Carabaya mining site resulting in deaths, injuries and homelessness.

In the Amazon region, the indigenous organization that is driving the process is Awaruna Huambisa, which has formed an agreement with the Provincial Government of Santa Maria de Nieva-Condorcanqui resulting in a commitment to fund the training of indigenous leaders in the province.

Nationally, the Permanent Forum for the Coordination and Continental Liaison of Indigenous Women of the South American Region held the Latin American Summit: Climate Change and Impact on Indigenous Peoples on March 24-25, 2009. This in the context of the preparatory actions for the Indigenous People's Global Summit on Climate Change to take place in April in Alaska. (See http://www.indigenoussummit.com). The Latin American Summit involved 76 leaders of indigenous organizations in Mexico, Central and South America, who shared a report on the Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Peoples related to sustainable development, food sovereignty and security, life and health of indigenous people and impact on women and the younger generations.

Leaders of indigenous organizations made an effort to formulate effective strategies and solutions from the knowledge of indigenous peoples to be presented at the Indigenous People's Global Summit on Climate Change. They captured the experiences and lessons from many indigenous peoples and analyzed the impact and consequences of programs and offerings for mitigation and adaptation to climate change, from the perspective of women, indigenous peoples and future generations.

Partnerships

To ensure sustainability of Chirapaq's actions, we have signed 12 agreements with indigenous organizations who are working within the regional agenda; two Technological Education Institutes; one local government in the district of San Juan Bautista to Ayacucho for the promotion of youth activities with Quechua; and 11 with each of the Local Education Management Units of the department of Ayacucho, to work for intercultural education Quechua peoples.

In addition, we have strategic alliances with:

  • The National Center for Intercultural Health, which formed the National Advisory Committee on Sexual Reproductive Health, jointly with the Permanent Forum of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru. At this level, we promote the National Action Plan on Sexual Reproductive Health.
  • The Ministry of Women, with whom we maintain a partnership to implement the Plan for Equal Opportunities in relation to the Millennium Development Goals of the UN.

Broader Awareness and Advocacy

Eleven provinces in the Ayacucho region have been promoting the proposal developed by Chirapaq for intercultural education, with 250 teachers engaged in bilingual education and the rights of our peoples.

On the issue of food sovereignty, Chirapaq's network disseminates information to the Ayacucho Quechua community in the province of Vilcashuamán and Huamanga.

Recent Innovations

  • Decentralization of the actions of the Indigenous Women's Program at the national level into four regions, with permanent staff in three of them and minimal resources allocated to each area in order to give more sustained support to indigenous organizations.
  • Formation of regional platforms, with an agenda defined from the perspective of indigenous peoples, and visibility as part of the national indigenous movement.
  • Recovery and validation of indigenous peoples' knowledge, technologies and initiatives to fight hunger and poverty, as part of a process of promoting and integrating them into policy actions.
    In Peru, The Hunger Project contributes funding to a partner organization, Chirapaq Center for Indigenous Cultures of Peru, for its project on "Strengthening Organization and Networking of Mixed and Indigenous Women's Organizations." This document is Chirapaq's report on this project for the period January-March 2009.