About the Alto do Rio Negro Region:
Located on the borders between Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela, with a population of 40,000 people, the Alto Rio Negro has distinct cultural diversity. In a territory larger than countries like Iceland or Austria, the region is home to 23 indigenous peoples, from 4 different linguistic backgrounds and 18 languages spoken, besides Portuguese and Spanish. There are more than 750 indigenous communities in the region, which comprises the cities of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Santa Isabel do Rio Negro and Barcelos.
The region has 10 indigenous territories demarcated by the Federal Government of Brazil, and 2 more territories in the process of demarcation. The Upper Rio Negro is recognized as an important wetland for the planet, possessing an RAMSAR Site seal, being the largest wetland recognized in the world. It is essential to regulating and balancing our planet's climate.
This mosaic of protected areas, with all its biodiversity, makes the Upper Rio Negro a practically intact region of the Amazon rainforest, which is well preserved and has a very low annual deforestation rate of 0.01%/year. It is also home to successful models of social and political organizations and exemplary territorial governance, which is all the more inspiring given how vital this region is to our world.
These 0.01% are still reforested and derive from the sustainable management of forest resources by native indigenous peoples. Even with all these characteristics, the forest and its people already suffer from the impacts of climate change and see their people, ways of life, cultures, and knowledge under constant threat. Indigenous celebrations are still held throughout the year, but with much effort. Maintaining their traditional practices of agriculture has also become an enormous challenge with warmer temperatures and longer rainy seasons caused by climate change.
About São Gabriel da Cachoreira:
São Gabriel da Cachoeira is known as the most indigenous city in Brazil. The city' s population is indigenous in its majority, and, given the fact that it houses governmental institutions at the federal, state and municipal levels, as well as international and organized civil society institutions, it is also considered the indigenous capital of Brazil.
Besides its tourism-based economic potential, this city is geopolitcally very significant, as it symbolizes the context of the struggle of the indigenous and other original peoples of the Amazon have to remain in control of their land. Historically and to this day, it is a city where the indigenous populations have bravely fought for the implementation of actions for sustainable regional development and denounced degrading practices that harm the forest and its biodiversity, such as deforestation, mining, and other illegal practices that negatively impact the environment and climate.