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Sustainable Development Through the La Ceiba - Pilares Project

Sustainable development initiatives to help some of the poorest people in Ecuador and Peru

The La Ceiba – Pilares project is a binational initiative in Ecuador and Peru that seeks to strengthen local capacity in an effort to conserve the forests of the cross-border Tumbesian region. At the same time, it seeks to improve the health and living conditions of local community members through a number of sustainable development initiatives. This region is one of the most important biodiversity preservation areas in the world, but in contrast to its natural wealth, the people living in the rural communities are among the poorest in both countries. This project helps to identify sustainable sources of income, while recognizing the rights and responsibilities of the local people and respecting local customs and resources.

So far, several hundred families spread out over 11 Ecuadorian and 6 Peruvian communities have initiated an organizational process of participative management of approximately 25,000 acres of dry forest. Some activities include sustainably produced goat’s milk products from locally-bred animals, honey production using native bees, the creation of community microcredit banks for small corn plantations and other necessities that require financing, and a program to promote infant nutrition. Another activity is the creation of zoning policies to regulate the use of the forest; designating certain areas for community and individual use, and leaving out other areas meant for regeneration and conservation.

Learn more about our work in the Tumbesian Dry Forests of Peru:


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