The UN Environmental Program (UNEP-WCMC) concluded this Tuesday (3) the official registration of the Kalunga Historical and Cultural Heritage Site as the first TICCA (Territories and Areas Conserved by Indigenous and Local Communities) in Brazil.
Access the publication here: https://www.protectedplanet.net/555698070
By Maiana Diniz, Communication Advisor, via the Quilombo Kalunga Association
The global title is assigned to conserved community and traditional territories in which the community has a deep connection with the place it inhabits, internal management and governance processes and positive results in nature conservation, as well as the well-being of its people, the so-called “territories of life”.
“It is with great pride that we received the news that the Kalunga Territory, one of the largest in Brazil, has been recognized by the UN as TICCA, as a preserved territory. This means that here we still have many fruits, a lot of nature and many preserved beauties. As a representative, I am honored with this international recognition. I believe that now we will have more partners to help us in the fight for the conquest of our entire territory, which has not yet been entirely expropriated. ”, celebrates the president of Quilombo Kalunga Association (AQK), Jorge Moreira de Oliveira.
With a strong tradition in agriculture, the Kalunga people practice low carbon planting and rely on ancestral knowledge to plant at the pace of nature, eliminating the use of pesticides. They plant in small fields, usually smaller than 1 hectare, where they practice subsistence agriculture, with the sale of surpluses. The cultivated areas are used for up to 4 years, then rest for 10 years. The gardens are made in the hoe, without the use of machines. The Kalunga they also practice extractivism and seek other sustainable alternatives for the development of the territory.
Becoming TICCA is a global recognition the role of the Kalunga people in conserving the biodiversity of the Cerrado and the beauty of Chapada dos Veadeiros, in northeastern Goiás. Rich in culture, water and biodiversity, it is estimated that the Kalunga quilombo was created more than 300 years ago by people who did not accept and managed to escape the slavery regime of the time. The territory occupies an area of 261 thousand hectares in the municipalities of Cavalcante, Teresina de Goiás and Monte Alegre, all located in the state of Goiás.
“We have gained autonomy in the management of our land. Now that we are listed on the international map of traditional communities as TICCA, we hope to join in this struggle with other communities around the world ”, says Damião Moreira Santos, project coordinator for the Quilombo Kalunga Association (AQK).
In addition, the title is expected to assist in protection of the territory against external threats, because now the Kalunga have in their hands a United Nations validation that proves the conservation in the territory, besides adding even more value to the community-based tourism and products from those regions.
The suggestion that the Kalunga Historical Site and Cultural Heritage (SHPCK) fit the TICCA concept came from the Director of Grant of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), Peggy Poncelet, throughout the process of building the Internal Rules of the Quilombo Kalunga Association (AQK), a document that establishes clear rules for the management and use of land by the Kalunga people. CEPF has a ongoing project with AQK and in the last two years has financed several actions for the improving management and sustainable development in the territory.
The board of the Quilombo Kalunga Association (AQK) became interested in the concept and throughout the community assemblies to discuss the Internal Regulations it also started an intense process of dialogues and consultations with the residents of the 39 communities living in the territory on the challenges and advantages to become TICCA.
“It was a very participatory process. We have a preserved community, a territory of life, but we suffer constant invasions. The TICCA formalization process has helped us to give international visibility to protect us ”, evaluates Vilmar Kalunga.
Were 14 large community assemblies and a large 3-day assembly to discuss and approve the Internal Regulations, a process that took place under the leadership of Vilmar Kalunga, then president of AQK, Damião Moreira dos Santos, coordinator of the CEPF project at AQK, Durval Fernandes Motta, consultant of the Association, and Jorge Moreira de Oliveira, current president of AQK.
“In the assemblies, we try to show the community the importance of the work that we all do for the world in relation to the preservation and conservation of nature. We, even without knowing or being recognized, provide a global service to the environment. During the discussions, we regained our awareness and pride in how we live and make a living from the environment. ”, recalls Damião Moreira.
The Community decision to proclaim itself as the first TICCA in Brazil it took place during a general meeting in February 2020. This was the first step towards the recognition of the Kalunga territory as “#8220; territory of life”, or TICCA.
Throughout the process, the AQK team had the active support of Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems (CEPF) and the International Education Institute of Brazil (IEB).
“We support territorial management, as we realize that it is very important from the point of view of conservation. AQK went deep with the project. We follow their territorial management steps: reviewing the statute, mapping their natural resources and managing conflicts in the community ”, explains Michael Becker, CEPF Cerrado coordinator.
AQK also contacted the Mupan (Women in Action in the Pantanal), institution that is the focal point of the TICCA Consortium in Brazil. In addition to clarifying doubts, Mupan supported the process of finalizing the registration of the SHPCK at the World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC) and created a Brazilian protocol to carry out the peer review process, provided for in the UN requirements to grant the title.
“Mupan helped in the articulation with other institutions and in the evaluation letter. As there were no other TICCAs in Brazil to do the recognition, we set up a commission for the TICCA Brasil network with quilombo leaders, representatives of the black movement and the Rede Cerrado institution, to certify if the procedure in the Kalunga territory had occurred in accordance with the documents sent to UNEP ”says Lílian Ribeiro, coordinator of indigenous affairs and traditional communities of the Corredor Azul Program, Mupan. Lilian also points out that the title is an additional tool for the Kalunga community to gain strength in the defense of the territory.
Maiana Diniz, AQK Communication Advisor
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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.