Improving the management of natural resources in indigenous territories
Title: Sustainable resources management taking account of climate aspects in indigenous territories in La Mosquitia
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: SRECI – Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores y Cooperación Internacional (Secretariat of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Honduras)
Overall term: 2020 to 2022
In the remote Honduran region of La Mosquitia, the indigenous population has largely sustained its traditional lifestyle and preserved biodiversity-rich ecosystems that form part of the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. In the past, however, the state has failed to make the necessary investments in the power supply, sanitation services, transportation, education and health care. This has exacerbated the situation for the already disadvantaged indigenous population and left the region’s development in critical condition. More than half of all small-holder families suffer from poverty, food shortages and malnutrition, while women also face restraints on political participation.
In 2015, Honduras committed to implementing the 2030 Agenda. Together with other technical cooperation projects, the communities are developing integrated resource management programmes, which tie together the issues of food and income security with environmentally friendly practices. The indigenous population has not yet established a sufficient level of organisation to compile their demands and leverage the political interest in the region, which is high at the moment. For the management of natural resources, the objective is to adapt the Government’s regulations on use to indigenous traditions, abilities and interests, but this has not yet taken place.
Management of the indigenous rural population’s territories in the communities of Puerto Lempira and Ramon Villeda Morales has improved in terms of its focus on food and climate adaptation.
The project aims to improve the management of natural resources, food security and the income situation through capacity development. Efforts target selected groups within the indigenous rural population in the territories of Finzmos, Truksinasta, Wamakkliscinasta, Lainasta and Watiasta.
The focus is on strengthening local stakeholders, including territorial councils, local administration, regional forest management, military units stationed locally and the Ministry of Agriculture. To begin with, the project is helping to clarify the responsibilities for the management of the territories that have arisen as a result of land titling. Building on this, it is strengthening the technical and organisational skills of the various stakeholders, especially the territorial councils, so that they can perform their tasks appropriately. Through the gender-sensitive promotion of democratic processes, the project aims to increase the participation of women in political decision-making processes and corresponding implementation.
At the same time, the project advises important governmental institutions, such as the National Institute for Conservation and Forest Development, Protected Areas, and Wildlife (ICF) and the Ministry of Agriculture (SAG-DICTA), on adapting the legal framework for protecting and using natural resources in La Mosquitia to the specific needs of the indigenous population. It supports stakeholder exchange aimed at identifying joint solutions that are both feasible and adapted to stakeholders’ needs. In this way, it aims to prevent conflicts with regard to issues of land law and resource use.
Moreover, the project supports innovative producers in their work with indigenous families to develop and disseminate diversified production methods that have been adapted to climate change. This cooperation is based on the principle of mutual learning. Income-generating measures go hand-in-hand with food security: Producers can earn money by selling local products to the government programme for school meals. The project also promotes the sale of honey, cocoa and wood on the regional and national market. In addition, local skills are being developed to improve the management of natural resources.
The project is part of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) programme on environmental policy, conservation and sustainable management of natural resources and climate in Honduras.