Peer Review Webinar Summary - Latin America

In December 2020, UNEP-WCMC and ICCA Consortium partners from the ‘Documenting ICCAs’ thematic group hosted a workshop on the peer review process in the Latin American region.

Over 30 participants from the region joined the session from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

Partners from Ecuador and Spain shared their experiences of implementing peer review in their countries, which allowed for lots of discussion around the challenges and opportunities of developing and implementing peer review networks. Many countries attending the session have not yet set up peer review networks, so this was a good opportunity to discuss the practicalities of it.

This webinar represented the beginning of a regional learning exchange on the peer review process, helping to improve understanding of the process and promoting long term sustainability of the review and support network in the region.

In this webinar there were 5 presentations (links to the PDF versions of the presentations are on this webpage, along with the link to the full webinar recording)

Below is a summary of the presentations:

1. UNDP GEF Small Grants Program in Ecuador - Seventh Operational Phase

Presenter: Anamaría Varea – Coordinator of the UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme in Ecuador (UNDP GEF SGP)

- The UNDP GEF Small Grants Programme (UNDP GEF SGP) provides support to civil society initiatives, with an emphasis on indigenous and peasant organisations (

- From 2016 to 2019, UNDP GEF SGP provided strategic support to territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs-Territories of Life) in the Biocorridors.

- It used applied research to identify case studies which focus on mainstreaming rights and community governance, and supported communities to map the Territories of Life.

- Since 2018, UNDP GEF SGP promotes the recognition of Territories of Life at the local, national and international levels.

- A strategy was developed for community consultation to decide on the registration of the Territories of Life in the ICCA Registry and Protected Planet databases managed by UNEP-WCMC (

2. Community consultation strategy in Ecuador, and registration of ICCAs – Territories of Life in the ICCA Registry

Presenter: Mencha Barrera, former coordinator of the Ecuador ICCA Project. Small Grants Program (UNDP GEF SGP)

- The community’s decision to register territories in the ICCA Registry and Protected Planet is an opportunity to strengthen local community capacity.

- There are several tools available to support the consultations, including: Instruments established by UNEP-WCMC to support data entry for registration; documents outlining the community’s decision relating to registration; documents related to peer review; and the community consultation plans for each territory.

- The role of communities and technical teams: The community team provides information materials. The ICCA technical team support the sharing of information. Both the technical and community teams verify the quality of the information for the ICCA.

- Key aspects of the process in Ecuador:

- Strength, flexibility and strategic vision of SGP Ecuador and its management model.
- A smooth working relationship with UNEP-WCMC.
- Conceptually and methodologically sound documents, with contributions from the ICCA Consortium.
- Technical support in territories carried out respectfully.
- Strengthened capacity of people and communities to exercise their territorial rights

3. Steps taken to register Pueblo Shuar Arutam in the ICCA Registry, and go through the peer review process

Presenter: Galo Chup, Shuar Arutam People, Ecuador

- The Shuar Arutam people registered their territory in the ICCA Registry in 2020

- In the peer review process for this territory, I learned about the experience of the Sarayaku People and participated in in their General Assembly

- The principal governers of Sarayaku community then made the decision to register their territory in the ICCA Registry

- The minutes were recorded and the agreement to submit to the ICCA Registry verified with signatures.

- Then an act of faith was made, which is a legal / formal guarantee to move forward with the registration.

- Similarly, Dionicio Machoa from the Sarayaku People participated in the peer review process of the Shuar Arutam People’s territory

- On behalf of the Shuar Arutam People, we feel strengthened by being in the ICCA Registry. We are convinced that in our Territory of Life one must feel, decide and care.

4. Steps taken to register the Kichwa People of Sarayaku’s territory the ICCA Registry and WDPA, and go through the peer review process

Presenter: Dionicio Machoa, Sarayaku People, Ecuador

- The Kawsak Sacha declaration demonstrates the importance of living with nature with the lagoons, rivers and hunting. This encouraged the development of the territorial management plan, which began in 2000. In this management plan, the regulations and standards of our territory were established.

- We found out our territory could be considered an ICCA after exchanging experiences with other ICCA custodians, and we also found out that we could register our ICCA.

- A consultation was carried out with the Sarayaku People in an assembly, to discuss submitting the ICCA to the ICCA Registry and Protected Planet

- Three consultations were held – in the assembly, in the extended Governing Council, and in the smaller Governing Council.

- The ICCA was added to the ICCA Registry and World Database on Protected Areas in 2020

- Registration on the WDPA gave us more international recognition for the protection of our territory.

- The Shuar Arutam People, based on international law, have decided to self-determine as an area of material and spiritual conservation.

- Following this experience, I accompanied the assemblies of the Organization of Waorani Women of Ecuador – AMWAE. I also participated in Orellana, in Toñanpare.

- In these assemblies we explained the importance of registration in the ICCA registry and the Protected Planet databases to demonstrate our efforts to conserve the Amazon forest.

- We have also coordinated with other communities. Each territory has its own model of managing its territory.

5. ICCA registry and peer review: Experiences from Iniciativa Comunales, Spain

Presenters: Pau Sanosa Cols Representative of the Iniciativa Comunales Board of Directors; Francisco Godoy Sepúlveda, Representative of the Working Group on ICCAs for Iniciativa Comunales.

- iComunales is an independent NGO, made up of local communities, individuals and organizations, which seeks to give recognition and support to community governance systems in Spain.

- In 2015, the organization developed a protocol based on anonymous peer evaluation, in which communities evaluate each other to determine if they meet the criteria to be incorporated into the ICCA Registry and Protected Planet. The process is mediated by a facilitator, with a Committee making the final determination on whether the criteria are met.

The process is mediated by a facilitator, with the General Assembly of iComunales making the final determination on whether the application is indeed an ICCA. The outcomes of the application are either: 'favourable' (it is an ICCA) 'subject to review' (More information is needed) or 'negative' (it is not an ICCA).

- iComunales also provides documents and facilitates face-to-face debate (e.g. through annual national and international seminars) to work on the definition of ICCA – Territory of Life, through the concepts of community, territory and governance, and adapting these to the Spanish context.

- When the protocol was applied to the evaluation of candidate ICCAs, it became clear that there were several aspects that needed improvement. A review of the protocol is currently being carried out which will likely give iComunales a more active role in the development of the evaluation process.

- Currently, iComunales is preparing a support plan called Vivero de Territorios de Vida, to empower and strengthen communal communities. Thus, it seeks to provide tools that serve communities striving to improve their governance, nature conservation and community cohesion processes.

For more information on the purpose of the peer review process for the ICCA Registry and Protected Planet, see Section 6 of the ICCA manual:

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