Indigenous and Afro-Colombian women contributing to biodiversity conservation

Many indigenous and Afro-Colombian groups live in the departments of Chocó and Antioquia in the biodiversity-rich northwest region of Colombia. National and regional protected areas there are particularly exposed to pressure from the mining industry. The project therefore supported the development of land use planning strategies for indigenous territories, strengthened community production systems and identified opportunities for the sustainable use of biodiversity, particularly in the case of women. Traditional knowledge was thus preserved and made more valuable for the departments’ inhabitants. The project also trained and strengthened indigenous people, who can then exercise their territorial rights and become more involved in decision-making processes. The interaction between nature reserves and areas managed by indigenous and Afro-Colombian groups was also supported, contributing to the exploitation of synergies and the sustainable development of the region.

Project data

IKI funding
961,332.00 €
06/2019 till 11/2022
Implementing organisation
Asociación de Cabildos Indígenas y Autoridades Tradicionales de Antioquia – OIA
Political Partner
  • Corporación Autónoma Regional para el Centro de Antioquia (CORANTIOQUIA)
  • Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia
  • The Pacific Environmental Research Institute "JOHN VON NEUMANN" (IIAP)

State of implementation/results


  • Project completed.
  • So far, twenty training workshops have been held in eight communities to develop sustainable production practices that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity in the project area
  • In addition, ten meetings of local guardians have been held, fourteen workshops on life plans and internal regulations have been conducted, and a basic structure of eight life plans and ten internal regulations has been developed for the communities involved in the project, both of which are important tools for territorial control exercised by the communities. Life plans and internal regulations are planning strategies for land use that incorporate ethnic approaches and aim at sustainable use and management of ancestral territories.
  • In addition, the project held a regional meeting for indigenous women focused on sharing traditional knowledge, empowering women, and helping them protect indigenous lands.
  • Three training workshops on women's empowerment and biodiversity protection were developed beforehand, and a preliminary dissemination strategy was prepared. In addition, 40 dissemination events were held, delivered by trained women in their communities.
  • Furthermore, an exchange of experiences between national guardians and indigenous guardians was conducted to strengthen their capacity to effectively control, monitor and protect their territories, sacred sites and strategic ecosystems.
  • The information needed for the geodatabase came from the work of experts and community workshops.
  • A regional discussion forum on the REDD+ strategy in Colombia was also conducted and the position of indigenous communities on the REDD+ strategy was documented.
  • A study was conducted on the biophysical and socio-cultural characteristics of culturally significant areas in traditional territories to be included in the GIS. These studies aim to document sacred sites of indigenous communities, as well as ecological and social practices, in order to demonstrate the importance of the sites to the community while preserving representative ecological values.
  • A new agreement between indigenous peoples, African American communities, and protected area authorities (at the national and regional levels) for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity was established and six territorial routes were developed in the communities.
  • In addition, a meeting was held to strengthen stakeholders involved in ethnic protected areas (indigenous and Afro-Colombian community authorities, partner institutions).

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