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Resguardo Caño Mochuelo ICCA, Colombia

The Resguardo Caño Mochuelo ICCA is managed by 10 different indigenous peoples (Yaruro, Yamalero, Sikuani, Sáliba, Wamonae, Maiben Masiware, Tsiripo, Wipijiwi, Amorua and Piapoco), who live in 14 communities. This ICCA is managed with the aims of conserving natural resources within their ancestral multicultural territory, while preserving their culture and traditions, improving their quality of life and livelihoods, as well as increasing territorial and land ownership security.

The Resguardo Caño Mochuelo ICCA is located in the eastern plains of Colombia, east of the department of Casanare, at the confluence of the Casanare and Meta rivers. Being a terrestrial area, the type of habitats that can be found include temperate, tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas and shrublands, flooded grasslands and fresh waters. These habitats shelter a variety of birds and mammal species, as well as plants that have a traditional and medicinal use within the communities. This ICCA is crossed by three important rivers: Meta, Casanare and Ariporo Rivers.

The communities have full legal rights over the natural resources within the ICCA, which they use for subsistence and to maintain their traditions. For example, the communities source mineral deposits from the habitats mentioned above, with which they make ceramics. The ICCA is crossed by the Aguas Claras navigation channel, a place of excellent fishing and hunting.

The indigenous peoples inhabiting the ICCA are part of an ancient nomadic culture, and their sustainable practices are closely linked to the natural cycles of the savannah and the complex web of life of the territory. The communities are distributed in permanent settlements with seasonal mobility in between settlements.

Whilst the Caño Mochuelo reserve was declared during the 1970s and later elevated to the category of Reservation in 1986, there is still no legal designation for ICCAs in Colombia. The communities consider the area as an ancestral territory of the 10 indigenous peoples that live in Caño Mochuelo.

An important activity the indigenous peoples living in Resguardo Caño Mochuelo has been their involvement in the “First Meeting of Traditional Knowledge from Resguardo Caño Mochuelo”, as part of the ‘Riqueza Natural’ Programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This project led to the formation of a council of elders and an indigenous territorial committee, along with work agreements with indigenous communities and leaders of Caño Mochuelo. In addition, environmental zoning maps of the Resguardo Caño Mochuelo and ecological calendars of the 10 indigenous peoples were developed, while a meeting of artisan women of Caño Mochuelo was scheduled.

This ICCA faces threats from resource extraction, climate change, biodiversity decline, inappropriate management, cultural change and loss of knowledge, conflicts with other communities (for example, problems with neighbouring farmers over land use and nature management), as well as injustices within the ICCA. Moreover, the Tsiripu and Wäupijiwi peoples are in danger of demographic and cultural extinction as they are the only surviving representatives of their peoples (to date, there is no record of these groups in other parts of the country). Looking to the future, the community intends to expand the Resguardo Caño Mochuelo, while ensuring that their culture, traditions and livelihoods are preserved and supported across the communities.

This case study was added to the ICCA Registry on 25th October 2019.

This case study was originally published by UNEP-WCMC in October 2019. The content was provided by the custodians of this ICCA. The ICCA has been self-declared and has not 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.