Coordenação Nacional de articulação das Comunidades Negras Rurais Quilombolas (CONAQ)
This project seeks to empower Brazil’s Quilombola communities to develop, implement, and improve territorial and environmental management tools, with a focus on sustainable management of biodiversity and traditional and family agricultural production. The two-year project will focus on the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes, which are critical biologically diverse regions in Brazil but are facing threats such as deforestation and development projects. It will work with 17 Quilombola communities in 11 Brazilian states.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, there are 5,972 Quilombola communities in occupying at least 30% of Brazilian municipalities. Quilombola communities have their own knowledge, technology, innovation, and practices built in harmony with the territory and passed on from generation to generation. Their ways of life and management of nature are based on ancestral practices that are essential for their survival, but they currently live in daily conflict with farmers, landowners, private companies and the government itself, facing violence, death threats, criminalization, contamination of their territories by pesticides, and destruction of their homes and plantations by invaders.
The Quilombola way of life and management of nature are based on ancestral practices that are essential for their survival, but they currently live in daily conflict with farmers, landowners, private companies and the government itself.
The project implementer, CONAQ will work in collaboration with Quilombola communities that are already engaged in training on territorial and environmental management, aiming to increase their capacity to prepare and implement environmental management plans, geo-reference and map their territories, and contribute to the sustainable management of their lands. The project will also support Quilombola organizations in 11 Brazilian states in the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado to develop technical skills, manuals, and other tools to achieve the project’s goals.
CONAQ’s strategy includes conducting a diagnosis of the territorial and environmental situation, promoting skills in territorial and environmental management, providing training and assistance to Quilombola family farmers, implementing mechanisms for territorial monitoring and georeferencing of communities, and developing political and technical capacities for the defense of the right to free, prior, and informed consultation. It will be implemented via three main activities: workshops in the communities to advance land regularization and territorial and environmental management plans; providing formative and practical activities to strengthen sustainable agricultural systems, protocols for consultation, and engagement of women and young leaders; and producing a diagnosis, mapping, and monitoring of the environmental, territorial, and production situation of the territories to identify cases of complaints and good practices.
The project will also support the communities in achieving several cross-cutting outcomes, including the defense of their territorial rights, protection of their human rights defenders from criminalization and suppression, promoting their ethno-territorial approaches in decision-making processes, training women and young people for political participation, strengthen their fight against racial discrimination, and promoting their cultural and religious expression.