IUCN was invited to support Saramacca peoples through the facilitation of a training process that enabled them to identify different options for managing their territory and conserving biodiversity.
Saramaccas have lived in the forests of Surinam for more than 300 years. Forests mean everything for them. “The reason we want to create our own protected area is to ensure that we can keep and save our forests for next generations, and also to contribute to the fight against climate change”, explained Hugo Jabini, ASA representative (Association of Saramaccas Authorities).
The workshops carried out by IUCN, took place in March in Tutubuka, New Aurora. The agenda included the following topics:
1. Protected areas: fundamentals, categories, history and opportunities for indigenous peoples and communities in nature conservation.
2. Examples and lessons learned from Community Conserved Areas in South America and other regions, as well as Indigenous Governance.
3. Planning - management of protected areas, and community and indigenous territories conserved areas.
4. Compensation for Environmental Services and REDD
“Participants were very enthusiastic about searching a model for integrated nature conservation that is applicable to the Sarmacca territory, respects their traditional lifestyle and strengthens their rights”, said Robert Hofstede, IUCN Consultant and CEM member.
Saramaccas are more than 25 thousand people. Participants agreed to share the information with all Saramaccas peoples living in around 70 villages, through small meetings in order to explain what they have learned, and make sure they understand the need to save their forests.
“Now we comprehend the importance of forests not only for us, but for the whole world. We can contribute with our carbon, by protecting our forests”, said Jabini. “We now have enough information, which strengthen us to go further in the process of establishing our protected area. It’s a dream that we want to become true”.
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