Many academia and research centres document knowledge and life forms in the area studied. The participants confirmed that there has been a long list of research and knowledge-generation projects in which the communities have participated over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, they emphasized the need for appropriation of the knowledge generated, because despite the volume of information and findings made from the ecosystems in their territory and local knowledge, there is no evidence of community feedback strategies. Likewise, they highlighted the need to train their own human capital in the medium and long term as the best strategy to integrate into the market economy and to increase their capacity to manage their territory.
We conclude that it is necessary to create spaces for dialogue between the different actors that currently play a role in the management and governance of natural resources. A dialogue of knowledge and an exchange of knowledge, both within the communities and between the community and external actors, such as State institutions and the private sector, are necessary to agree on adequate ecosystem management strategies in adequation to the context and needs of the population. In addition, it is necessary to implement and strengthen participatory mechanisms in decision-making by the local population, as well as to create training tools aimed at strengthening governance and the local economy. An interesting example could be the Ramsar committee created in 2017 that includes governmental organizations in coordination with the Ticoya reserve representatives.
Finally, the communities’ members consider that the lack of knowledge of their native tongue represents a great weakness for new generations, as the transmission of traditional knowledge, cosmovision, and the way of relating to the ecosystem is done through the language and oral traditions. Consequently, this represents the biggest challenge for both the older and younger generations.
Question to the participants: for you, what are the key strengths of your food system and the challenges for sustainability?
“In terms of food, we don’t need to buy anything. We have more than enough food… Nor do we need to produce a lot, because then the food goes to waste, and we have to sell it at a ridiculous price.” Juan Ramos, fisherman from the community of Ticoya.
“Not all of us are clear about the roles of our leaders, and not even the leaders themselves are clear. The problem is that we remain silent.” Sergio Silva, Comunidad Ticoya council.
“We need the money to buy things that make our lives easier. If I had money, I would buy an engine to be able to transport myself faster... we also want to do things more comfortably, like anyone else.” Urbano Ferreira, fisherman from the community of San Francisco.
“Living here has its advantages. We have many things that the people outside do not have. The pure air we breathe here, for example, cannot be found anywhere else. All the beauty around us is ours.” Ubaldo Valerio, fisherman from the community of 20 de Julio.
“Producing our food is inherited from our parents, it is respect for nature and its future children.”Community member and participant to the thematic discussions in Puerto Nariño.