Permanent Protection of the Sacred Headwaters

In partnership with many other organizations, we're developing a plan to secure permanent protection for this critical region of the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador and Peru.

How we will bring about permanent protection

In the planning phase of this project, Pachamama Alliance will be focusing on building a coalition of key stakeholders (Indigenous groups, local governments, international NGOs) and aligning on a common vision for the project. Equally important, we will also be focusing on initiatives that build the capacity of the Indigenous people to manage this area.

Why this is important?

This area is one of immense global importance. It is recognized as containing the highest levels of biodiversity in the entire Amazon basin, perhaps in the whole world, and is a source of deep spiritual connection to Pachamama herself. Located at the headwaters of the Amazon basin, it plays a central role in feeding the hydrological cycles, the circulatory system of the planet and is central to regulating the global climate. This region, becoming known as the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon, is gaining international attention as one of the global priority areas that must be protected.

What Will It Take?

The project to protect the Sacred Headwaters of the Amazon will be a long-term project, possibly taking 20 to 25 years to be fully implemented and realized. It will involve numerous stakeholders in Ecuador, Peru, and internationally. It will involve putting in place regional plans for monitoring and guarding the health of the ecosystem, developing sustainable economic alternatives for the Indigenous peoples, building local educational and healthcare systems that support human development, developing appropriate transportation systems for the region, and creating international funding mechanisms that both provide financial support for local development within the protected area and also provide resources for regional and national development needs.

Leveraging 20 Years of Effective Partnership

20 years ago, the Achuar people of the Ecuadorian Amazon reached out to us for partnership in protecting their land and culture from oil extraction. Now we will work toward permanent protection of this area in collaboration with the Achuar and other Indigenous groups who live there, local governments, and interested local and international non-governmental organizations.

How Much Will It Cost?

The long-term costs are just now being assessed. It is clear that it will require many, many millions of dollars a year. The first phase of the project will be a development phase, to gather key stakeholders and develop a master plan with key outcomes and a funding strategy. We think this phase will take two years, and it will involve a collaboration of the Indigenous groups, local and national governments, and interested local and international non-governmental organizations. We estimate that the development phase will cost between $1.0 to $1.2 million a year for the two years and will be funded by a variety of stakeholders and foundations. We would like to be in a position to directly provide at least 10% of that budget as a starting point each year.

Who Will Do It?

Pachamama Alliance, in partnership with Amazon Watch, our close collaborator in this region, is taking on the responsibility for initiating this development phase.

This project is not a Pachamama Alliance project or really any single organization’s project. This is much bigger. At some level, this is the Earth’s project. Because of Pachamama Alliance’s special historical position in this region and because of our relationships and contacts, we have a responsibility to engage. We’re being called to step into this coordinating role at the beginning. And we will see then how things evolve. At some point as this project succeeds it will become many organizations’ project.

Supporting Indigenous People to Defend their Territories

The most effective way to protect forests is to support Indigenous rights. For 20 years we've made sure that Indigenous communities depending on the Amazon rainforest have the resources they need to make informed decisions about their territories as oil and other extractive industries encroach upon their land. In order to permanently protect this area, we will increase our support of Indigenous management of the social, economic, and political activities of the area.

Donate Today to Protect the Amazon

Your donation will help fund the next phase of our effort to permanently protect the Sacred Headwaters Region of the Amazon Rainforest.