The Self-Determination Initiative lays down a coherent strategy for the Shipibo group to mount an effective fight against deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon and move towards political and economic autonomy. It supports The Council of Self-Governance of the Shipibo-Konibo-Xetebo People in bringing together its 176 communities to reclaim its integral territory, creating the conditions to resist extractivism and pursue sustainable alternatives. By providing Coshikox with access to broad collaborative alliances, financial resources, and innovative technology, the Center lays forth a demonstrably effective method of capacity building rooted in the existing governance structures— a strategy which ensures that local communities remain at the center of decision-making and project-development.
Taking into consideration that the continued health of forests is inextricably linked to the wellbeing of forest people, it should come as no surprise that indigenous struggles for autonomy function in parallel to grassroots environmental activism. The Ucayali Region of the Amazon— one of eight deforestation hotspots in Peru— is an epicenter of these dynamics. Rainforest protection is one of the most effective technologies we have to absorb carbon emissions and reduce climate change. However, efforts in forest management have all too often overlooked the possibility of fortifying the indigenous communities with longtime stewardship over these territories.
Research demonstrates that indigenous lands have lower rates of deforestation than national parks, nature preserves, and private sanctuaries. Nevertheless, despite all of the proof, Indigenous Peoples are often left alone on the frontlines of the resistance against the mega-companies usurping their territories and on-going state encroachment for large infrastructure and carbon energy projects.