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Sitio Histórico e Patrimônio Cultural Kalunga, Brazil

The history

A region with numerous and rich natural beauties, the Kalunga territory was occupied some 300 years ago, when many African men and women were enslaved and brought to work in mining. As they did not accept living in that situation, they fled the states of Minas Gerais, Bahía and Goiás and hid in the stretches of the mountains located in the municipalities of Cavalcante, Monte Alegre de Goiás and Teresina de Goiás, north of the Microregion of Chapada dos Veadeiros, about 520 km from Goiânia, the capital of the state of Goiás.

In 1982, through a report, prepared by the anthropologist Maria de Nazaré Baiocci, from the Federal University of Goiás - UFG, it was certified that the entire area was occupied by the same family root, which later allowed expansion, the recognition and demarcation of the territory of the Sítio Histórico e Património Cultural Kalunga – SHPCK. Here, approximately 1,600 families live in an area of 261,999 hectares, distributed between 39 communities.

Notable large meetings and assemblies

In 2019 Quilombo Kalunga Association (AQK) held 14 large meetings to prepare the Internal Regulations and a 3-day assembly to discuss and approve its final drafting. This consolidated the new form of management based on the participation of each resident family in the Kalunga Historical and Cultural Heritage Site, and the election of their representatives to participate in the Management of the Quilombo Kalunga Association, through the Council of Representatives.

During the AQK Local Assemblies, information was presented on the territories and areas Conserved by Indigenous and Local Communities (ICCAs). Here, they discussed the ICCA concept, the advantages, challenges and their role in conservation, community responsibilities, and opportunities for visibility through registration of the territory as an ICCA.

The registration process

The registration process was widely approved during local assemblies, after all, the community already recognized that this territory, regardless of registration, was already an ICCA (also known as territory of life).

“At assemblies, we try to show the community the importance of the work that we all do for the world in relation to the preservation and conservation of nature. We, even without knowing it or without being recognized, provide a global service to the environment. During discussions, we regain our awareness and pride in how we live and how we make a living from the environment. The TICCA registration is only a confirmation of our work and an exposition of this to the world ”, Damião Moreira explains.

Damião, one of the leaders of the Kalunga Territory, representing AQK, contacted Mupan (Women in Action in the Pantanal)who are the ICCA focal point in Brazil, and was invited to participate in the "Second ICCA Brazil Meeting" which took place from August 19 to 21, 2019. His participation in the meeting helped to resolve doubts and brought him closer to the institution, which later facilitated the meetings in the territory, and supported the process of completing the registration with UNEP-WCMC.

“At the event, we were able to understand that only we and our actions, our way of life and our customs make us a TICCA. Now we seek recognition, an international registry that unites us with other communities with similar traditions and who practice conservation like all of us,", celebrates Damião Moreira

Mupan's support

Mupan's role is to support indigenous and traditional communities and facilitate knowledge about ICCAs through translated materials, organizing meetings and gatherings to encourage discusión and debate. This allows more and more communities to have access to the ICCA concept and, if they feel their area and people identify with the concept they are supported to register in the ICCA Registry. For more information, visit our page: https://www.mupan.org.br/ticca-brasil/.

“From the first contact with the Kalunga community, I realized how they are organized and aware of their role and their importance in maintaining their culture, territory, livelihoods and nature conservation. After having been present and supported in this important moment of registration decision, held in an assembly with representatives of the 39 communities, it demonstrates the strength of these people who have been fighting for their rights for so long and who leave great examples at every step for all of society" , says Lílian Ribeiro, Coordinator of Indigenous Affairs and Local Communities in Mupan

The AQK Board develops important mapping and data skills for the entire territory, having structured a Geographic Information System (GIS) and a physical and socio-economic database During this process the Kalunga youth were trained to work in data collection, where they used Open Data Kit (ODK), Alpine Quest, ArcGis and MySQL programmes. Currently, they already have a well-established database that allows planning and better management of the territory. This project is funded by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), through which the representatives and the Kalunga teachers are trained to use and manage the information.


Today, this population is recognized as the largest remnant of Quilombola in Brazil, and a site of historical heritage protected by the Goiás government. Fed by beautiful waterfalls, the community develops sustainable tourism as a means of subsistence. The communities receive several visitors, not only interested in its beauty, but also for the historical, cultural and religious factors that attract people to traditional annual festivities. For more information about the community, visit the website: www.quilombokalunga.org or use the Kalunga Tourist Complex application in Android or IOS stores.

This case study was originally published by UNEP-WCMC in July 2020. The content was provided by the custodians of this ICCA. The ICCA has been self-declared and has been through a peer-review process to verify its status. More details on this process can be found here. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of UN Environment Programme or WCMC.