"This is a huge opportunity to create a new model for park management in Peru, involving surrounding human communities in the process," says Lily Rodriguez, President of CIMA. "From the start, we have included Cordillera Azul's neighbors in the goals and vision for the park, in the zoning, and in the efforts to make the park benefit its neighbors, directly and indirectly."
Through participatory "asset mapping," researchers understand the cultural and organizational strengths and capabilities in communities surrounding the park. These assets then serve as the building blocks and entry points for effective work with the communities, based on local needs and wishes and compatibility with long-term survival of the park.
"The social asset mapping we did with the communities around the park revealed their commitment to conservation and their innovative strategies for managing their own natural resources," says Alaka Wali, PhD, John Nuveen Curator and Director of The Field Museum's Center for Cultural Understanding and Change. "Drawing on their existing capacities and engaging them from the very beginning should give us a head-start on building their sense of ownership of the park."
Cordillera Azul will be the first park in Peru managed primarily by the private sector, something that USAID is interested in assessing. This will be done through a monitoring system that will keep track of progress in management capabilities and the health of the ecosystem, Miller says. Agroforestry models to generate income and job opportunities will also be
Contact: Greg Borzo