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Results Briefs November 8, 2021

Recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Leadership in Climate Action: Land Security and Sustainable Forest Management in the Peruvian Amazon


Artisan women received financial support to improve their textile production and access new markets.

Daniel Martínez Quintallina / World Bank (2020)

Indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon led and implemented efforts to achieve full legal recognition of 253 native communities and demarcation and land titling of 58 native communities (approximately 230,000 hectares). In addition, 44 community-based productive subprojects were accomplished—including 16 women-led initiatives—contributing to sustainable forest management and improved food security and generating income in 119 native communities in the region.


High deforestation rates, unsound forestry practices, and illegal logging have threatened Peru’s impressive biodiversity as well as the livelihoods of local communities. On average, over 134,000 hectares of forest cover were lost annually in Peru between 2005 and 2015, especially in the Amazon. Forty-five percent of this deforestation took place on lands with no legal status. Over half of national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from land-use change (predominantly deforestation).

Forests provide a wealth of goods and services: carbon storage, biodiversity, water filtration, storm mitigation, timber and nontimber products, food, and more. Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) retain a close relationship with forests, not only for their livelihoods but also for their cultural and spiritual well-being. Although social indicators are low for most inhabitants of the Amazon region, Indigenous peoples fare worst from high levels of chronic malnutrition and infant mortality and from limited access to education and primary health care.


The Saweto Dedicated Grant Mechanism (DGM) for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Project aimed to invest in enabling conditions for environmental sustainability, climate change mitigation, and poverty reduction among IPLCs by promoting (i) legal protection and recognition of native communities; (ii) land tenure security; and (iii) financial support and capacity building for promoting income generation and food security in native communities through sustainable forest management.

By strengthening their land rights, IPLCs can better protect their lands and forests from illegal encroachment and develop productive activities related to forestry, tourism, aquaculture, or other income-generating enterprises. In response to COVID-19, the project also reallocated grant proceeds to support IPLCs in responding to the pandemic with communication materials on Covid-19 prevention and sanitary protocol development and training.


Between 2015 and 2021, the project contributed to the following key results:

  • Recognition of 253 native communities, allowing those communities to begin the land titling process.
  • Demarcation and titling of 58 native communities, covering approximately 230,000 hectares.
  • Financing for 44 community-based productive subprojects—including 16 women-led initiatives—contributing to sustainable forest management and improved food security and income generation in 119 native communities in the Peruvian Amazon. These subgrants also contributed to (i) formalizing cooperatives and associations, especially for women; (ii) acquiring permits and certificates for production; and (iii) increasing productivity and promoting sustainable practices in community businesses by investing in improved facilities and equipment, training, and market access.
  • Provision of personal protection gear and sanitization and first aid kits for 400 communities; 164 communities in highly isolated areas also received radio communication equipment to help cope with mobility restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Adoption by the government of Peru of new regulations to streamline multiple aspects of the native community recognition and land titling processes. The new regulations emerged following close coordination between the National Steering Committee (NSC) and public agencies at the national and regional levels. Adopted at the national level, these regulations set standard procedures and clear assessment criteria for all regions, expediting the recognition and titling processes.


Native community Alto San Pascual discusses its recognition process, Satipo province, Junin

Photo: Water Aguirre / World Bank (2018)


Bank Group Contribution

The Forest Investment Program (FIP), a targeted program of the World Bank-hosted Climate Investment Funds, provided a grant in the amount of US$5.5 million to finance this project. Active in 23 countries, FIP supports developing countries’ efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and promotes sustainable forest management that leads to emission reductions and the protection of carbon reservoirs. FIP also financed the DGM Global Project, implemented by Conservation International and aimed at facilitating knowledge exchange and capacity building for IPLCs at the regional and global levels and strengthening the networks and alliances of IPLC organizations. The Global DGM facilitates the dialogue among national-level DGMs in 12 FIP countries, including Peru’s DGM.


The project’s National Steering Committee—responsible for reviewing and approving all subproject proposals and acting as project intermediaries for the beneficiary communities— benefited from the participation of ten representatives from the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Rainforest (AIDESEP for its Spanish acronym) and the National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP from its name in Spanish). Both the NSC and the project’s National Executing Agency (World Wildlife Fund—Peru) closely coordinated with the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, and the regional governments to implement project activities, particularly those related to the legal recognition of native communities and native land titling.

DGM Peru has also continued to generate synergies with the Directorate General of Sanitation of Agricultural Property and Rural Cadastre (DIGESPACR), the governing body of land titling and recognition processes at the national level. The project has also continued to coordinate closely with the Regional Agricultural Directorate in each region to understand its personnel needs to facilitate progress at the cabinet level in recognizing and titling lands.


The main beneficiaries of the project include the 1,500 IPLCs living in the Peruvian Amazon, as well as the women benefiting from grant financing for subprojects specifically managed by them. 

The women-led Indigenous association Chocowarmi, in the Copa Sacha native community, has produced cacao-based products since 2013. “We, as women, want to improve the quality of our lives, in our families, our household and business,” said member Lulli Chavez. With the DGM, the association remodeled its processing facility to improve quality and productivity and financed training and internships for its members. In 2018, its chocolate with shica-shica, extracted from a palm tree, won a national competition. “We do the entire process—harvesting, post-harvesting, drying, fermentation. We now aim to access the international market to sell our products,” said Karina Tuanama.

Reene Pujupat Taan, an Awajún Indigenous woman, is a member of a women-led fish-farming initiative. These Indigenous women decided to undertake this activity to cope with the high levels of pollution from the Chiriyacu River. With the DGM support, the group of women expanded and improved existing fishponds, acquired equipment, and participated in technical training. The project supported the formal creation of the Awajún Nazareth Women's Aquaculture Association.

The income generated by the association was essential during the COVID-19 pandemic for the food security of the entire community and the purchase of medicines.

Moving Forward

The Peru DGM demonstrated that IPLCs can successfully take a lead role in designing and implementing development projects, and it is expected that the DGM Peru project will serve as a successful experience and help raise additional funds with international partners. The lessons from the project will inform the government of Peru in its future engagement with IPLCs and with climate action, especially its efforts to improve native land titling. Additionally, community-driven productive subprojects were designed to provide the initial capital and technical assistance native communities required to start or upgrade their businesses while considering both environmental and economic sustainability. In most cases, income generated by subprojects has been reinvested in the community businesses.

Beneficiaries in Las Tres Islas native community improved harvesting and production of chestnut-based products, Tambopata province, Madre de Dios. 

Photo: Daniel Martínez Quintallina (2021)


Learn More

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Short movies on the project results available at MDE Saweto Perú page in YouTube: