Improving Livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples in Mountain Areas Through Enhanced Security of Land Tenure and Resource Access in Bolivia and Peru


To put in place policy and institutional framework changes to secure indigenous peoples' rights and their governance of land and natural resources in highland communities


Background and activities

The Andean highlands of Peru and Bolivia are areas inhabited by many indigenous communities that still rely on the land for food and livelihood security. In addition to experiencing threats from climate change, their cultures and livelihoods strategies are at risk as their rights and needs are not sufficiently integrated into efforts to develop alternative decentralised forms of natural resource governance. IUCN and its partners are working to improve of legal and institutional frameworks, participatory processes and accountability regimes to ensure fair, equitable and sustainable natural resource management.

In Bolivia, IUCN specifically supports activities in five ayllus (traditional Inca political and social units made up of extended family members that once shaped land use and tenure regimes) in the area of the Cololo TCO (Tierras Comunitaria de Origen- i.e historically communal lands) and Copacabana de Antaquilla, the Corcque TCO and the municipality of Tiwanacu. In Peru, the project is implemented in the following areas: the community of Laraos (found in the highlands of central Peru, near Lima), the community of Tupac Yupanqui (in northern Peru near Huascaran National Park) and communities of the APOC (Lake Titicaca Association for the Conservation of Nature) in the Puno region.

Indigenous peoples in Bolivia are the legal owners of approximately 84 territories or Tierras Comunitaria de Origen. The Bolivian model of development emphasises the recovery and sovereignty of indigenous peoples and social well-being. However, in Peru, there is such model and no legal recognition of indigenous territories. The country's policies have focused on stimulating a land market and as a result, traditional communities are fragmented and engage in alternative economic and social practices.

Highland populations, although powerful and numerous, have progressively lost certain communal land rights and neither country currently has culturally sensitive social indicators for human well-being.  Furthermore, most indigenous organisations still lack the capacities needed to effectively engage in decentralised and autonomous governance of natural resources.

This sub-project works to reform natural resource management and policy by supporting changes in community leaders and local government authorities while helping to create stable and informed alternative governance structures. IUCN and partners are working with public institutions and three national protected area management plans to integrate indigenous peoples' interests.



As a result of  institutional and political changes that take into account indigenous rights and interests in both countries, IUCN will help ensure that highland indigenous communities have access to land tenure and natural resources.

The project will also help in creating culturally appropriate human well-being indicators to be included in plans and policies and implemented in monitoring and evaluation of activities.

IUCN foresees that the sub-project's activities will improve the capacity for local governance of natural resources in highland areas in both countries, including in national protected areas that overlap with local and indigenous community lands and territories.


IUCN-SUR is responsible for the technical, administrative and financial coordination of this sub-project. It carries out monitoring and evaluation and helps with conceptual and methodological design, coordination and sharing  and dissemination of information between countries and partners.

The Peruvian IUCN Committee is implementing the project on the ground through one of its member organisations, the Peruvian Association for the Conservation of Nature (APECO).

In Bolivia, the Foundation for Development (Fundacion Simbiosis para el Desarrollo) and a team of consultants selected by IUCN's Bolivian Committee lead the sub-project's financial administration.

Funded by UKaid from the DFID's Governance and Transparency Fund
  • UKaid
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