A new GEF website is coming soon. Preview the design here

Feature Story

The living forest: Conservation efforts of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku

August 9, 2021

Close-up photo of young girl of the Sarayaku Naywari
Photo: Pueblo Originario Kichwa de Sarayaku

Deep in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest, accessible only by boat or plane, the Kichwa people of Sarayaku are advocating for indigenous rights and protecting their ancestral territory.

In July 2021, the Kichwa people of Sarayaku were awarded the United Nations Development Programme's prestigious Equator Prize in recognition of their decades-long efforts to protect their territory and their advocacy for Kawsak Sacha – a concept and logic with global relevance.

The prominent indigenous rights advocacy by the Kichwa people of Sarayaku has also earned them the support of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), which is implemented by UNDP. Since 2018, SGP has been assisting them through a rights-based approach to promote biodiversity conservation, sustainable livelihoods, and resilience to climate change.

The project has been supported by the Global Support Initiative for Indigenous Peoples and Community-Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA-GSI), a partnership with the Global ICCA Consortium, the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with funding from the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of the Government of Germany.