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Field research seeks to value the ways of life of traditional peoples and communities of the Cerrado

by Bruno Santiago, Communication Advisor of the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado

Between September and October 2019, the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado visits Traditional Communities and Peoples of the Mirador-Tables Corridor, located in the states of Maranhão, Piauí and Tocantins. The reason for roaming is the realization of field research from the project ''Network articulation and social participation for the conservation of the Cerrado' ', which is supported by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) and the International Institute of Education of Brazil (IEB), with the coordination of the ActionAid Brasil.

Jonathan and Jorge, Gamella children from Vão do Vico Indigenous Territory, Santa Filomena, Piauí. In the photo are looking at a monocle with old photos of family members. Photo: ©Andressa Zumpano / ActionAid Collection

Focusing on valuing the lifestyles of Traditional Peoples and Communities and in strengthening the actions of social participation and fight for territorial rights of these groups, the research seeks to support the campaign, its member organizations and populations living in the Brazilian savannah.

Given the adverse socio-environmental conjuncture experienced by the peoples of the earth, forests and waters in any biome of our country, such research becomes even more relevant. That's what explains Gerardo Cerdas Vega, Policy and Program analyst at ActionAid Brazil. "We live in a time when the Cerrado Peoples face widespread violence against their territorial rights and lifestyles, which puts their survival at risk," he emphasizes.

Seu Didi, Melancias territory. Riacho dos Cavalos Community. Gilbués, Piaui. This place was his old house, which today is surrounded by the Dawn Farm. He came in to show us what the community looked like before the houses were destroyed. Photo: ©Andressa Zumpano / ActionAid Collection

From the identification of practices, knowledge and technologies of the visited communities, the research intends to show the relation of the action of these populations with the protection of agrobiodiversity of the territories. '' Any strategy for the defense and conservation of the biome must contemplate the permanence of these guardians. Undoubtedly, their contribution is significant and the research intends to present these benefits, 'says Gerardo.

Another thematic axis of the research is the guarantee of rights tofrom spaces of social participation. The project aims to detect the relevant institutional spaces for community advocacy actions, covering topics such as food and nutrition sovereignty, rural education and social inclusion policies.

In addition to institutional participation spaces, the research will also look at community spaces of organization. '' We note that in the national context spaces for social participation are not always accessible or democratic, especially for traditional peoples and communities. Thus, the project also aims to guarantee subsidies so that communities and peoples can organize and fight for their rights to participate, '' says Vega.

Riozinho, Chupé Community. Santa Filomena, Piaui. Community residents report pesticide contamination in Rio during the winter. That is when the farms use it and with the rains, everything goes down to the rivers of the Communities. Photo: ©Andressa Zumpano / ActionAid Collection

Cerrado Conflicts

One of the communities that received the Campaign field research team was Brejo do Miguel, in the municipality of Gilbués, south of the state of Piauí, a traditional riparian riverine territory. Last week the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) published public note denouncing the invasion of land grabbers in an area of grass in the stump and loose animals that has been used for about three generations by the community. The fence that had been built by the families of the region was destroyed by seven jagunços with the use of chainsaws.

Unfortunately this kind of conflict is not new to Cerrado and in the Brazilian field. According to CPT data, 118,080 families were involved in land conflicts in 2018, a period that also records that this type of occurrence increased by 3.9% compared to 2017, from 1,431 occurrences to 1,489.

In this context of conflicts, threats and challenges for the resisting close populations, the project's field research & #8220; Network articulation and social participation for the conservation of the Cerrado '' Its objective is to contribute with the availability of information, report and booklet with the fruits of these experiences and learning in the territories.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of the French Development Agency, Conservation International, the European Union, Global Environmental Management, the Government of Japan and the World Bank. A key goal is to ensure that civil society is involved in biodiversity conservation.