The Madre de Dios Native Federation (FENAMAD) is the umbrella organization of the indigenous peoples of the Madre de Dios watershed in southeastern Peru. It defends the rights of indigenous peoples, promoting plans, projects and actions that contribute to their welfare. FENAMAD represents 38 communities of nine indigenous groups or peoples in the Madre de Dios watershed in southeastern Peru. The request for SERVIR-Amazonia assistance and training was made to the SERVIR-Amazonia indigenous peoples’ advisor in the context of FENAMAD’s application for funding from the Global Environmental Facility’s (GEF) program for the defense and conservation of indigenous territories. SERVIR-Amazonia Director, Carlos Gasco, issued a letter to FENAMAD expressing interest in providing technical assistance that was submitted to the GEF in FENAMAD’s proposal.

The Federation has been actively using technology to protect their livelihoods and land rights, for example by geo-referencing local communities and surveillance to avoid conflicts. A concrete example is the use of ForestLink application in 18 of its 38 communities to monitor and take action against illegal gold mining and illegal timber extraction in the southern Peruvian Amazon. ForestLink is a smart phone application provided by Rainforest Foundation United Kingdom (RFUK) in a small grant that has supplied the necessary equipment and training of community-selected monitors (veedores). It allows for near real time geospatial detection of those illegal activities with precise Universal Transversal Mercator (UTM) coordinates of the sites where illegal extraction activities occur and that can be communicated directly to prosecutors who send in and accompany the police that make arrests of the violators of environmental laws.

FENAMAD’s forestry specialists Pepe Torres and Lexander Noa train territorial reserve agents of Monte Salvado, Infierno and Tipishka communities

This program has already allowed six of those communities to present evidence to prosecutors from the Madre de Dios branch of the Specialized Prosecutors for Environmental Matters (FEMA) leading to prompt police intervention and arrests of those responsible. With the support of FENAMAD’s legal team and funding from other sources, FENAMAD has brought criminal charges against those responsible and blocked these illegal activities at least temporarily. FENAMAD, in coordination with FEMA, brings these charges anonymously to protect the lives and safety of community leaders and monitors.

Recently, FENAMAD is coordinating efforts with the Amazon Basin Conservation Association (ACCA) to monitor illegal gold mining in Madre de Dios, Peru in the framework of the development of an ongoing SERVIR-Amazonia service.  FENAMAD also uses drones and GIS software in their forest monitoring efforts. They need training and technical assistance to bolster and expand the monitoring and defense of several million hectares of indigenous territories, including those of isolated indigenous peoples in their region.

Photo credits: FENAMAD


Author of this blog

Tom Moore,
SERVIR-Amazonia indigenous peoples’ advisor