Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program
Dear ASL Friends,
We want to start this newsletter by thanking the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat and Council members for their commitment to the Amazon region by setting up a new program with GEF-8 funding and their trust and support in reconfirming the World Bank as the lead agency for this new phase. This new ASL program will be designed, capitalizing on lessons and results from the two previous phases, and include the involvement from governments and all key stakeholders. 

In this newsletter, we highlight some of the most recent stories about activities carried out in collaboration with different organizations such as the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Wildlife Insights (WI), and other GEF-funded programs like the Global Wildlife Program (GWP), on issues of gender, wildlife monitoring, and corridors and connectivity. You will also read some stories from national project teams.

We are also sharing the report from the ASL's 4th Annual Conference. From September 12–14, the members of the teams that make this program possible met in Puembo, Ecuador, in a long-awaited, face-to-face format, strengthening the bonds of the ASL community. This space, in addition to welcoming new members, promoted the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and reflections among the implementers of the program, identifying opportunities for future exchanges and collaborations.

As we head into 2023, we would like to express our gratitude for your support and hope that you and your families have a happy, exciting, and healthy new year.
Warm regards,
The ASL Team 
News at a glance (scroll down to read more)
  • GEF Council reconfirms World Bank as the ASL lead agency 
  • ASL Annual Conference Report 2022 
  • Parliamentarian dialogue in the Colombian Amazon
  • ASL side events at COP27 & COP15
  • Report: Lessons Learned in Effective Donor Collaboration for Amazon Conservation and Sustainable Development

Feature Stories
  • Lessons learned in promoting gender equity in the Amazon  
  • Opening up opportunities for participatory wildlife monitoring in the Amazon with camera traps
  • Enhancing ecological connectivity in the ASL & GWP's projects

Stories from our national projects
  • ASL Brazil's participation at COP27
  • Colombia: Estrella Fluvial Inírida Community Process showcased at the 14th Conference of the Ramsar Convention
  • Colombia's efforts to conserve the jaguar in a major corridor – Connectivity and Biodiversity Conservation in the Colombian Amazon – Sustainable Amazon for Peace project
  • Peru: Territorial planning at the service of nature and people
  • Grievance redress mechanism helps improve management of Peru's natural protected areas
  • Peru launches their third ASL project
GEF Council reconfirms World Bank as the ASL lead agency
At the 63rd GEF Council Meeting held virtually, the assessment committee determined the World Bank proposal was strong and provided solid evidence and justification for its selection as lead agency of the ASL. In addition to demonstrating the agency’s proven capacity and commitment to the Amazon basin, the proposal highlighted technical expertise and a community of practice already in place, convening power within and beyond the region including collaboration with other GEF Agencies, and potential to leverage co-financing. 
Read the ASL's Annual Conference report 
The ASL’s fourth annual conference was held September 12–14 in Puembo, Ecuador. The meeting brought together seven Amazonian countries, environmental authorities, and development agencies with the objective to promote the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and reflections among the ASL's national and regional projects executors, identify future exchanges and collaborations, and strengthen the engagement among members.
The opening was attended by Ecuador's Minister of Environment, Water and Ecological Transition, Gustavo Manrique M., who highlighted the importance of implementing an economic development model that is in balance with natural capital. The opening panel also included Boris Weber, World Bank representative in Ecuador, Pascal Martinez, climate change specialist and GEF representative, and Ana Maria Gonzalez Velosa, World Bank senior environmental specialist and ASL Program Coordinator. Special guests included Fabiola Muñoz, Peru's former Minister of the Environment and former Minister of Agriculture, and Domingo Peas Nampichkai, indigenous leader and coordinator of the Amazon Sacred Watershed Initiative from Ecuador–who closed the event by inviting all stakeholders to reaffirm their commitment to the conservation and protection of the Amazon.
Parliamentarian dialogue in the Colombian Amazon
Between November 9–10, a group of 19 parliamentarians from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, together with government and civil society representatives, traveled to Mocoa, in the Colombian Amazon, to participate in an event organized by the ASL regional project with the support from the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF).

With a focus on community-based sustainable bioeconomy initiatives, the exchange promoted dialogue among parliamentarians in an effort to identify challenges and opportunities to promote conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon through collaborative efforts to be enabled via legislative measures. The event was showcased in the “Opening the World Bank to Parliamentarians” newsletter.

Watch the video prepared by Corpoamazonia, the main host of the event. 
The ASL at COP27 & COP 15:
Rewatch the side events
Connecting people & institutions to connect landscapes and avoid tipping points: ASL side event at COP27
During the COP27 climate change conference, the GEF-organized side event “Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program – Connecting people and institutions to connect landscapes and avoid tipping points” held on November 16th provided an overview of the ASL and its partnerships with governments, donors, implementing and executing agencies.

A round table included Wilbert Rozas, Peruvian Minister of Environment; Uyunkar Domingo Peas Nampichkai, indigenous leader from Ecuador and coordinator of the Cuencas Sagradas initiative; Dennise Hills, Vice President of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs of Natura & Co; Dr. Carlos Nobre, co-chair of the Scientific Panel for the Amazon; Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO; and Valerie Hickey, Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy from the World Bank. The panel shared their perspective on how to address challenges and ensure regional collaboration (as proposed by the ASL) to conserve the climate and biodiversity services provided by the Amazon and prevent an irreversible tipping point. The event included the initial presentation and moderation of Pascal Martinez, ASL manager on behalf of the GEF Secretariat.

Watch the recording here.
Connecting people, institutions & ecosystems to conserve the biodiversity of the Amazon basin: ASL side event at COP15
The side event, titled “Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program – Connecting people, institutions, and ecosystems to conserve the biodiversity of the Amazon basin” and organized by the GEF during the COP15 biodiversity conference took place on December 10th. The session provided an overview of the ASL Program and its partnerships with governments, donors, implementing, and executing agencies with a common goal to conserve and sustainably use the region’s immense biodiversity.

The event kicked off with a presentation of the ASL program and its unique regional approach and reliance on collaboration with diverse stakeholders at all levels to channel actions towards green, inclusive development and conservation. 
The presentation was moderated by Adriana Moreira, Latin America Regional Coordinator at the GEF Secretariat, with two guest speakers from the World Bank as the program’s lead agency: Valerie Hickey, Global Director for Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy and Paul Jonathan Martin, Lead Natural Resources Management Specialist, Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy Practice. Presentations were followed by a panel comprised by Laura Bermudez, advisor from the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Denise Hills, Global Sustainability Director for Latin America for Natura & Co, and Fernanda Marques, Portfolio Manager for FUNBIO, Brazil.

Watch the recording here.
Lessons Learned in Effective Donor Collaboration for Amazon Conservation and Sustainable Development
This report, prepared by the ASL regional team, presents the results of the study to compile best practices, challenges, and recommendations regarding effective donor collaboration and based on a deep-dive analysis of selected case studies in Amazon countries. The study is part of the ASL’s effort to generate information for and promote dialogue among donors (multilaterals, bilaterals and philanthropies) currently supporting conservation and sustainable development in the Amazon region.
Feature stories
Lessons learned in promoting gender equity in the Amazon
In order to analyze the gender gaps that are present in conservation and sustainable development initiatives in the Amazon region and identify solutions to address them, the ASL regional project, in partnership with CIFOR, produced the “Women's Solutions: Lessons for Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Amazon” study. The study presents five recommendations to promote gender equity in conservation and sustainable development interventions in the Amazon.  

Read the feature story here and the visual stories here.
Read the Publication (in Spanish)  I  Executive Summary (in Spanish)
Opening up opportunities for participatory wildlife monitoring in the Amazon with camera traps
Camera traps and technology accessible to communities and governments can be powerful tools for conservation decision making. The ASL regional project partnered with Wildlife Insights (WI) to develop a dedicated data explorer tool that assesses and analyzes images of wildlife captured by camera traps.

In four pilot sites in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, which benefited from capacity building activities, the tool helped identify the sites’ richness in species and provide key information useful to assess ongoing activities, design wildlife ecological corridors, and motivate future conservation activities. The tool is available for all ASL projects.
Enhancing ecological connectivity in the ASL & GWP projects
Together with the GEF-funded Global Wildlife Program (GWP) a knowledge exchange activity was designed to support the programs' national projects working in designing, implementing, and/or managing biological corridors to enhance landscape connectivity. One product from the activity was the Ecological Corridors and Connectivity Resources Librarya collection of resources (articles, guidelines, books, webpages, and more) on ecological corridors and connectivity. 
Stories from our national projects
ASL Brazil project participation at COP27
Representatives of the ASL–Brazil project had the opportunity to participate in a thematic panel on the initiative's actions on November 16th at COP27. The objective was to present the project's restoration strategy, its priority activities, and the network established between different levels of government and its partners.

The panel's guest speakers included João Raphael Oliveira, representative of the Ministry of Environment and Acting Director of the Department of Ecosystems, Maurício Bianco from CI-Brazil, and representatives of the Operative Units part of the Secretariats of Environment of four states that execute the project in Brazil. The panel endorsed the importance of restoration as a natural solution for climate change and highlighted the opportunities that restoration brings for the development of production chains and job and income generation in the project’s areas of intervention.
Estrella Fluvial Inírida Community Process highlighted at the 14th Conference of the Ramsar Convention 
Under the slogan "Action in favor of wetlands for people and nature," during the 14th Conference of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14), the Vice Minister of Environmental Policies and Standardization of the Colombian Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Sandra Vilardy, highlighted the importance of the country’s wetlands that occupy at least 26% of the country.

The Heart of the Amazon ASL project was present at COP14, particularly to showcase its support to the community process leading to the sustainable management of the Estrella Fluvial de Inírida (EFI) Ramsar site, in alignment and partnership with institutions such as the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, SINCHI Institute, the CDA regional environmental authority, and NGOs such as Fundacion Omacha and WWF-Colombia. The project has supported activities towards community monitoring of fauna and flora, control and surveillance, and strengthening local communities’ capacities and leadership abilities. The EFI management plan was presented as an example of participatory work to protect and generate sustainable development in such strategic ecosystems as wetlands.
Colombia's efforts to conserve the jaguar in a major corridor 
With support from the ASL project in Colombia, Sustainable Amazon for Peace, and following the Intergenerational Agreement for Jaguar Conservation signed in 2018, local communities are managing a corridor in the Yarí region (Meta and Caquetá), which hosts 150,000 hectares and connects the Tinigua, Serranía de La Macarena, and Chiribiquete National Natural Parks. Since then, 40 local families have been working on the restoration of more than 60,000 hectares of this corridor. On International Jaguar Day, this and the concerted efforts of different organizations in Colombia and Brazil to conserve this species were highlighted in one of the most important newspapers in Colombia.
Photo credit: WWF Colombia
Territorial planning at the service of nature and people
With the objective of contributing to territorial planning incorporating environmental sustainability criteria, the Sustainable Productive Landscapes in the Peruvian Amazon Project has been supporting the process of preparing the Concerted Development Plans of the Huánuco and Ucayali at regional, provincial, and district levels that will run until 2033.

At the community level, the project provided technical assistance in the development of Life Plans in 11 native communities. Based on this experience, it has been possible to develop a methodological guide, that is being validated, that traces the path for the development of life plans as instruments to be included in strategic planning by government agencies, considering their key contribution to the territory’s sustainable management.

Read more here.
Watch the video Life Plan Shambo Porvenir (with Spanish subtitles).
Grievance redress mechanism helps improve management of Peru's natural protected areas 
As part of the safeguards requirements of the GEF-6 ASL national project “Securing the Future of Peru's Natural Protected Areas,” implemented by WWF and executed by SERNANP and PROFONANPE, a Grievance Redress Mechanism (Mecanismo de Atención de Quejas y Sugerencias, MAQS) was developed. 

The project team understood that MAQS could play a significant role in the project context, both as a tool that could support protected areas (PA) participatory processes and as a mechanism that could allow citizens to submit, both in person and virtually, their grievances as well as their comments and suggestions about the project operation, allowing PAs’ management units to respond and adjust operations and engagement procedures as needed. 

Towards that objective and in collaboration with SERNANP, the project team decided to invest particular efforts in promoting the use of the tool among project stakeholders, from national actors to indigenous communities, in the project’s PAs. This entailed the preparation of communication materials, which were made available in the various local languages and designed following a culturally appropriate aesthetic, as well as their active promotion in all project meetings and events.

The MAQS has been received positively by project stakeholders, including representatives from indigenous and local communities, who have started to use the tool not only to communicate complaints, but also to share queries and suggestions for improvement. Having an active MAQS with clear procedures, responsibilities, and timing has worked to nurture and thus improve trust between communities and SERNANP. Furthermore, stakeholders recognized the importance of having a focal point in the Project Management Unit (PMU) that was able to guide and support them as they initiated a query, complaint or suggestion.  

Although the tool was originally designed for the project’s intervention areas, it has now been adopted at an institutional level and scaled up to the whole PA national system in Peru given its positive results and progressive adoption by SERNANP’s staff. Certainly, this is a crucial achievement for the project and this tool’s design and implementation can be a key lesson to similar initiatives in the Amazon region.

Watch the video here (in Spanish) and see more materials here.
Congratulations to Peru on the launch of their 3rd ASL project
The project Building human well-being and resilience in Amazonian forests by enhancing the value of biodiversity for food security and bio-businesses, in a context of climate change, aims to advance the conservation of healthy and functional forests and wetlands resilient to climate change, maintaining carbon stocks, preventing greenhouse gas emissions, and generating sustainable and resilient local livelihoods in the Peruvian Amazon. As part of the ASL's second phase and with funds from GEF-7, the project brings together the Ministry of Environment of Peru and Profonanpe to execute the project with technical support, and supervision from FAO, UNIDO, and IFAD, as GEF agencies.

Read more about the project launch event and visit their webpage (in Spanish).
Read the project factsheet here (in Spanish).
Recent ASL virtual knowledge events
Tipping point in the Amazon – Where are we?
December 1, 2022: This webinar was organized by the ASL and the Amazon Conservation's Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP). It allowed for a discussion of the Amazon tipping point, the proximity to reaching it, and the importance of indigenous territories and protected areas as a major defense against reaching the tipping point.

Watch the recording here
More previous webinars can be found here.
To receive regular updates about virtual events email:
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