All six tribal communities in Suriname strenghten cooperation
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All six tribal communities in Suriname strenghten cooperation

Initiative created by WISE REDD+ project

For the first time in history, all six tribal communities in the territory of Suriname have signed a cooperation agreement to act jointly for the development and representation of their cultures. This historic MoU was signed during the festive closing of the WISE REDD+ project on April 1, 2016 in the Ballroom of Royal Torarica Hotel, Paramaribo, Suriname. Conservation International Suriname has been the initiator of WISE REDD+, a subproject of the National REDD + project.

Mr. Hugo Jabini spoke on behalf of the tribal communities and explained that the six different tribal communities in Suriname, the Saamaka, Aucaners, Paamaka, Aluku, Matawai and Kwinti all have their own cultures and traditions and that they have not cooperated closely until now. With the MoU they now hope to establish a joint administration over the next two years to be able to represent themselves better towards the government and other stakeholders.

Jabini went further to say: "It took a long time, but finally in 2013, we all agreed to the Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP) for REDD+, enabling the government to submit the proposal to FCPF / World Bank. Although this document was not perfect, we didn’t want to hold back the process any longer. We want to be involved in everything the government is doing with the areas where we are living. The fact that today the WISE REDD+ process has been finalized, is a good result for us. It also encouraged us to take one step further and start thinking about closer cooperation between our communities."

With the successful finalization of WISE REDD+, Suriname is following up to one of the Conditions that were set by the FCPF when they awarded the grant of 3.8M USD to Suriname in 2013 for the REDD+ readiness phase, namely the better involvement of specific groups. The tribal communities play an important role in conserving Suriname’s nature. There is a simple reason for this: tribal peoples have managed, protected, nurtured and shaped their land for generations. They, more than anyone, have the best knowledge and motivation to protect their land.

Conservation International Suriname has been the project leader for WISE REDD+ since its start in 2014. They have developed an engagement strategy together with two local NGO’s, the VIDS (representing the indigenous) and VSG (representing the tribals). Government officials have been trained from March 29 - 31, 2016 in order to apply this strategy in practice. On behalf of the National Institute for Environment and Development in Suriname

(NIMOS), mrs. Gina Griffith announced that NIMOS will follow up this project by financing more training sessions for a larger group of officials as part of the National REDD+ project, that NIMOS is coordinating.

Sheila Marhe, Technical Director of Conservation International Suriname said that Conservation International Suriname is very honored that the WISE REDD+ project led to this meaningful and historic partnership between the tribal communities.

CI Suriname’s Project coordinator for WISE REDD+, mrs. Eunike Misiekaba, received a standing ovation from all the participants for the diplomatic and thoughtful way she has led this project over the last two years.

The REDD+ program fits right in the overall objective of CI’s Amazonia strategy, which is: ‘Zero net deforestation by 2020, so people can prosper’. Since Suriname has such vast forest cover and strong protected areas and indigenous lands, the focus of CI Suriname is primarily on preventing deforestation and strengthening management of existing conservation areas. CI Suriname thinks that REDD+ financing could play a major role in making that possible.

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