As plans for mega roads and dams and forestry projects continue to threaten the forests of southwest Guyana, the Wapichan people of the region have prepared a ground breaking proposal for the preservation of 1.4 million hectares of forest. The Wapichan organized more than 80 community meetings from 2008 to 2011 in developing this plan and ensuring that it benefits all and is implemented with full community support. The proposal was launched along with a community-developed digital map that maps out the community’s traditional areas. The Wapichan were supported throughout the process by the South Central People’s Development Organisation (SCPDA) and by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
At the launch, Angelbert Johnny, Toshao of Sawari Wa’o Amerindian Village, said, “Recognition of our rights to control and manage our traditional territory would be one of the best ways of helping Guyana to fulfil its commitments to tackle climate change and meet its obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity, which aims to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity.”