INTEGRATED PROGRAMME FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION AND
CULTURAL REVITALIZATION: LA MOSQUITIA & THE CARIBBEAN COAST
A Capacity 21, UNDP and Government of Honduras initiative
Monitoring Report on Programme Activities – 1994
Hugo Navajas Capacity 21 Advisor March 1995
1. PROGRAMME RESULTS AND EFFECTS TO DATE
1.1 Summary of predicted results and effects of programme activities
1.2 Summary of results and effects which have been observed to date
(predicted, unpredicted and indirect)
1.3 Summary of capacity enhancement results
1.4 Summary of changes in decision-making processes
1.5 Summary of policy changes and reforms
2. EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF INPUT UTILIZATION AND OUTPUT
2.1 Summary of predicted and actual input utilization and explanation of variances 2.2
Summary of predicted and actual outputs produced and explanation of variances 2.3
Summary of internal and external factors affecting programme management and
3. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
3.1 Lessons learned of particular note for the global programme
3.2 Experience(s) which should be publicized by the global programme 3.3
Recommended adjustments to national programme, if any
3.4 Recommended adjustments to the national M & R programme, if any 3.5
Summary of observations, conclusions and recommendations
NOTE: This report is based on the annual reporting format outlined in the document CaMily 21 Programme
Monitoring & RgortinR,Strategy. The opinions and views expressed are my own and do not reflect
in any manna •thepolicies of tM Caapacity, 21 programme; UNDP or the Government of Honduras.p
l. PROGRAMME RESULTS AND EFFECTS TO DATE
1.1 Summary of predicted results and effects of programme activities
The 1994 workplan contained the following activities, grouped according to the corresponding objectives and outputs (the following is translated from the original prodoc's
Module II/Objective l: To prevent environmental degradation in priority ecological and
Output 1:1: Elaboration of environmental assessment and impact studies encompassing the
Garffuna habitat along the Atlantic coastline, the Pech region bordering the western edge of
the Rfo Plátano Biosphere and the Patuca river basin in the Mosquitia region, inhabited by the
Output 1.2: Identification and selection of participating indigenous communities (Garffuna,
Pech, Tawahka), considering cultural, organizational and ecological variables.
Output 1.3: Identification/delimitation of the functional habitat of participating communities.
Output 1.4:Elaboration of legal proposals to protect the ecological and cultural diversity of
the Garffuna, Pech and Tawahka habitats, including the Torbabé-Punts Sal coastal fringe, the
Guaymoreto lagoon, the Capiro y Calentura tropical forest and the western margin of the Rfo
Module II/Objective 2: To strengthen traditional indigenous governance systems through the
selective introduction of "modern" public administration principles, to improve local
management capabilities and enhance prospects for ethnic survival.
Output 2.1: A set of documents evaluating current management practices among selected
Garffuna, Pech and Tawahka communities.
Output 2.2: Design and activation of a training programme designed to meet the needs of
Module III/Objective 3: To complement actions supporting environmental conservation,
territorial security of tribal settlements and the strengthening of indigenous management
capacities, with the design/implementation of microprojects generating tangible benefits at the
community level (applying PRA techniques).
Outputs 3.1-3.6: Needs assessment and prioritization of project ideas encompassing primary
health care, bilingual-intercultural education, food security, cultural revitalization, income
generation, ecotourism and infrastructure, in participating communities.
1.2Summary of results and effects observed to date
Predicted results and effects
Instead of conducting field research from an exclusively ecological perspective, the programme implementation unit opted to combine activities included under this output with
the community needs assessment foreseen under the 3rd objective. As a result, three
documents have been elaborated for the Garffuna, Pech and Tawahka tribes which address
biodiversity and other environmental aspects as well as cultural, territorial and development-
related issues. These studies provide a "starting point" for the programming of future activities
and eventual design of project proposals.
The Pech and Tawahka assessments have clearly outlined priority environmental
needs, providing baseline data to justify the proposed Pech Biological Corridor (covering the Carb6nMalacate mountain range, which would link Pech settlements in the Carbón and Subirana areas with the Sierra de Agalta National Park while protecting forests used for hunting and gathering), as well as finalize legal proposals for the Tawahka Asagni Biosphere connecting the southern margin of Rfo Plátano Biosphere with the Bosawas Reserve in Nicaragua.
In comparison, the Garffuna assessment is considered unsatisfactory due to the excessive number of surveyed communities (36) which undermined fieldwork quality and depth, inadequate monitoring by the implementation unit, and methodological problems encountered during this
exercise which represented the programme's first field experience. Nevertheless, the study has identified 13 areas - river basins, latifoliate and mangrove forests, lagoons, nesting & reproduction sites - situated along the Garffuna coast which require designation as protected areas. The implementation unit has secured cooperation agreements with the local university (CURLA) and NGOs to research some of these areas.
Following the needs assessment studies, the implementation unit designed a pilot methodology for selecting participating communities. This approach was tested on 36 Garffuna communities, applying weighted variables grouped according to socioeconomic, environmental,
cultural and logistic considerations. A first exercise was attempted with counterparts from OFRANEH, the Garffuna federation, resulting in the priorization of 10 communities distributed among 3 geographic areas. This list was turned down by the OFRANEH governing board for political reasons, given that the populated Trujillo Bay area (where a large segment of OFRANEH's constituency resides) did not enter the "shortlist" due to its relative affluence and high degree of cultural assimilation. Discussions stalled for several months.During my mission, the implementation unit and OFRANEH's board agreed on a final set of communities. The geographic areas proposed during the first pilot exercise have been retained: (i) Triunfo de la Cruz and San Juan in the western Tela Bay area, which preserves a relatively solid
cultural base and outstanding levels of biodiversity - Punta Sal, Laguna de los Micos, Laguna Quemada - threatened by major hotel and tourism investments; (ii) Nueva Armenia and Corozal in the central region, which are undergoing displacement due to the expansion of the La Ceiba metropolitan area, the deforestation of the Nombre de Dios mountain range and the contamination of vital water sources; and (iii) Limón, Punta Piedra, Sangrelaya and Batalla near the eastern Mosquitia frontier, an area that still maintains pristine cultural and natural environments. A fourth area incorporating the Trujillo Bay settlements of Guadalupe and Cristales was added to accommodate OFRANEH's request.
The implementation unit has also selected five Pech communities in consultation with
FETRIPH, the counterpart tribal federation: Santa Maria del Carbón, Jocomico, Agua Sarca, Subirana and Vallecito, which are distributed within the Carbón and Subirana geographic areas (encompassing the two major Pech tribes). Given their reduced population and concentration along the Patuca river, all five Honduran Tawahka settlements have been selected for programme support. The ratio between the number of selected Pech, Tawahka and Garffuna communities is consistent with the latter group's substantially larger population.
The programme has had to surmount difficulties associated with the notion of "functional habitat", which lacks legal precedent in Honduras. The unfamiliarity with this concept has, in several cases, hindered communal title procedures for indigenous settlements. Land policiesadministered by the National Agrarian Institute (INA) define occupation on the basis of constructions, improvements or other alterations to virgin tracts, while the Natl. Forestry
Development Corporation (COHDEFOR) has traditionally restricted the declaration of protected areas, reserves and parks to unaltered and presumably vacant land. The seasonal utilization of forest resources for hunting and gathering, the "cultural occupation" of wilderness areas for migratory or religious purposes, or the extended fallow periods applied by indigenous farming systems to extend soil fertility, do not justify ownership under Honduran law.The implementation unit has held several meetings with government institutions to promote the functional habitat concept and its intrinsic relation to indigenous production systems. Programme advocacy appears to be making headway given that INA and COHDEFOR may now
be willing to harmonize criteria by approving communal titles for indigenous communities which include surrounding farmland (ferras ejidales), while facilitating direct tribal control over
adjacent parks and nature reserves through management contracts that would assign indigenous forest rangers and tourist guides, as well as permit the sustainable utilization of natural resources. There is growing recognition among government decisionmakers that indigenous populations are the primary "stakeholders" in protecting Honduras's biodiversity.
Using data from the Tawahka needs assessment, a legal proposal for the establishment of
the 233,000 hec.Tawahka Asagni Biosphere was updated and is now being analyzed by a joint congressional - indigenous commission. Under the revised proposal, the Biosphere would be managed by five Tawahka communities situated within an 80,000 hec. tribal zone bordering the Patuca river in the heart of the Biosphere.
The programme has made substantial progress in securing land rights for Garffuna and Pech communities by paying field expenses for INA surveyors, hiring legal advisors and assigning indigenous counterparts from the tribal federations to ensure that local needs are considered. In 1994, 12 Garffuna communities received communal titles totaling 13,300 hec. Some of these incorporate coastal lagoons and mangrove forests which have been sustainably exploited by local residents for centuries. During the same year, 4 Pech settlements received communal titles for approximately 11,500 hec.; 4 other requests are pending before INA.
An additional 4 Garffuna communities rejected their titles due to unsatisfactory
delimitations by INA - ie. excluding farmlands and fishing areas, accommodating non-indigenous settlers - and preference for individual ownership. In some cases these problems stem from the lack of effective monitoring by the implementation unit and indigenous counterparts; INA technicians unfamiliar with native tenure systems were often sent to the field without supervision. Under the 1995 workplan, the programme will attempt to assist these communities through further collaboration with INA, incorporating fishing and communal forest reserves as protected areas under local management. Sample surveys of non-indigenous occupants have also been conducted in several Garffuna villages to gauge the extent of penetration and assess legal options; similar surveys are planned for Pech and Tawahka areas.
Output 1.4The Tornabé-Punts Sal coastal fringe near Tela Bay has been declared a protected area (Punts Sal is now a national park) as have the Guaymoreto Lagoon and Capiro-Calentura tropical forest near Trujillo. With the exception of Tornabé, the programme's role has been minimal andcredit is due to local NGOs and the UNDP field office which provided technical and financial assistance. However, none of the new reserves foresee the participation of surrounding Garffuna communities within their management plans - an omission which the programme is attempting to correct through consultations with COHDEFOR, the Environmental Secretariat and the Tourism Department..
Programme support for the Tawahka region encompassing the Patuca river basin has focused on establishing the 233,000 hec. Tawahka Asagni Biosphere. The Biosphere was created by Presidential decree in 1992 but congressional approval has been stalled by legislatorsrepresenting lumber and ranching interests, as well as deficiencies in the original proposal which was prepared by a local NGO. The programme has updated the proposal with baseline data
generated through field surveys and legal advice. The current version reduces the Biosphere's size and transfers management functions to Tawahka communities through contractual agreements outlined within a management plan. It is currently being finalized by a joint congressional - FTTH (Tawahka federation) commission and will be presented to Congress in the coming months. The programme has arranged a reconnaissance flight over the Biosphere in March for the President of Congress and senior COHDEFOR, Environmental Secretariat and INA officials, as part of the lobbying effort. If approved, the Tawahka Biosphere will represent a major programme achievement.
The Pech needs assessment study proposes designating a protected Biological Corridor linking
(which borders the communities in the Carbón - Subirana areas with the Agalta national park
western fring- of the Rfo Plátano Biosphere). Fieldwork was conducted in coordination withthe COHDEFOR-Canadian Latifoliate Forestry Project. The Biological Corridor would declare the Carbón, Malacate and Sierra Tinto mountain ranges as protected areas, conserving forests essential for hunting & gathering, the collection of medicinal plants and the overall survival of Pech culture while providing an extended buffer zone between the expanding agricultural frontier and the Rfo Plátano Biosphere. The Pech Biological Corridor would be administered by trained Pech forest rangers under a management plan negotiated with COHDEFOR; traditional hunting & gathering activities by neighboring communities would be allowed on a regulated basis.
Output 2.1The Pech, Tawahka and Garffuna needs assessment surveys (output 1.1) provide adequate information on capacity building needs, as well as suggestions on how assistance can be channeled without disrupting traditional institutions. Training priorities identified in the field include
communal farm administration, primary health care, bilingual/intercultural education, forest management, ecotourism and marketing. Aside from the workshops held with OFRANEH and Garffuna community leaders on land issues, the programme has started to implement an organization & management training programme through the NGO CESADE. in addition,
seminars on participatory planning and project identification techniques for community leaders have been scheduled for the 2nd quarter of 1995, incorporating PRA and other methodologies. These exercises shall serve the dual function of improving indigenous planning and management capabilities while generating project profiles for the programme's third module.
Activities expected to begin in May were delayed until December, when the coordinator
for the second module was recruited and a service agreement negotiated with CESADE.The first organization & management workshop was held in February 1995. The three week course was attended by 27 representatives of the Pech, Tawahka and Miskito tribal federations and community councils. This approach to capacity building was developed by theBrazilian sociologist Santos de Moraes with the peasant unions of the northeastern sertao, and subsequently applied during the Honduran and Nicaraguan sandinista agrarian reform
programmes (several of the Honduran "graduates" went on to organize rural cooperatives which have been operating profitably for the last 20 years, ie. HONDUPALMA). The methodology is currently being used by R,O's regional employment generation programme based in Costa Rica.-The CESADE seni -ir was based upon simulations of campesino enterprises (formed by groups
of participants) which received fixed quantities of resources - land, seed, working capital and other inputs - and are expected to manage organizational structures and implement productionand marketing plans within a competitive environment (ie. limited access to credit, unfair competition by large corporations, exploitation by intermediaries etc.). Facilitators provided theoretical and practical orientation throughout the exercise; group discussions and task force
activities were regularly held. Several enterprises completed the seminar with surplus harvests
financial profits; other enterprises pooled resources to take advantage of scale economies while a few went bankrupt due to mismanagement or were bought out by competitors. Outstanding participants demonstrating superior leadership and management abilities have been selected for further training, and shall form the nucleus for community-based counterpart networks during the implementation of microprojects under the third module. The results of an evaluation session and my own conversations with participants indicate that the seminar was very useful.An unfortunate note was the limited Garffuna presence. At the last moment, OFRANEH decided to pull out of the exercise - despite having participated in planning the seminar - due to disagreements with the implementation unit over extraneous issues, ie. the selection of communities for microprojects under the third module, the use of project equipment and other points of contention. Only two Garffuna participants attended the seminar; the OFRANEH president has recognized that an important opportunity was wasted (in fact, several members of OFRANEH observed the seminar's final sessions).
The programme sponsored a national-level encounter for 50 district attorneys on indigenous land claims, human rights and the legal implications of Convention 169. The Special Attorney for Indigenous Affairs and representatives from INA, the Anthropology & HistoryInstitute, the Human Rights Commission, the national indigenous network CONPAH and counterpart tribal federations served as facilitators.
Several workshops were held in 1994 to discuss Carffuna land conflicts; for the first
time, leaders from a wide array of dispersed communities were able to exchange views and coordinate defense strategies with OFRANEH, as well as receive direct advice from INA officials and legal consultants experienced in land legislation. Another workshop was co-sponsored with the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN) to explain the legal and human rights implications of Convention 169 to government and indigenous authorities.
Outputs 3.1 - 3.6
Participatory planning exercises conducted in Pech and Tawahka communities have prioritized more than 50 project ideas; the range of ideas includes the demarcation and legalization of indigenous territory, census-taking, forestry management, traditional health care, recuperation of native crafts, ecotourism and agricultural diversification for consumption and marketing purposes. Project profiles will be designed and aggregated within microregional conservation & development plans for each indigenous group; this activity is scheduled for the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 1995.
One of the deficiencies of the Garffuna assessment survey was that it did not generate community-specific data. The implementation unit fielded a second, multidisciplinary team to identify project ideas in the 36 communities. This mission included the participation of a civilengineer associated with the Honduran Social Investment Fund (FIES). A preliminary list of project ideas derived from initial consultations was filtered through public meetings, resulting in a "shordist" of 150+ project ideas of which 46 pertain to the communities selected under Output 1.2. Project profiles for these communities shall be elaborated by a third mission in April, comprised by an external planner, 2 counterparts from OFRANEH and an area-based Garffuna NGO, and several short-term sectoral consultants. While Garffuna fieldwork has been extremely costly - (almost US$ 30,000) due to the first needs assessment's deficiencies, the lack of monitoring and the need to repeat unsatisfactory field research, it is expected that the project design mission will finalize this phase of programme activities.
A number of additional project ideas addressing infrastructure and environmental needs have been forwarded to FMS and the ecological VEDA Foundation, given that both institutions are interested in funding microprojects for indigenous communities through the programme.Negotiations with FHIS are advanced and an agreement involving up to US$250,000 could be approved within the coming months.
Unpredicted results and effects, including indirect effects
The programme has indirectly contributed to the following:- Congressional approval of ILO Convention 169 in May 1994, after a year of postponement despite periodic efforts by the UNDP field office and assorted ILO consultants. The programme recruited a renown (and politically connected) lawyer who worked with thecongressional commission assigned to review the Convention, and lobbied with the President of Congress and key legislators to get the Convention on the agenda and finally approved.
- Limited organizational and logistical support was provided for the historic "March for Peace, Justice, Life and Liberty" (July 1994), in which approximately 1,000 representatives from Honduras's 7 indigenous groups converged upon the Presidential palace and the NationalCongress in Tegucigalpa. The 3-day march was extensively documented by local and international media networks, and aroused a national debate over the plight of indigenous populations. The national student movement, labor unions and the population at large actively demonstrated their solidarity with the marchers by turning out in large numbers to rally for indigenous rights.
- As a result of the Convention 169 ratification and the July March, President Reina has established (i) the Presidential Emergency Task Force for Ethnic Groups, comprised by executives from the forestry, environmental, health and public works ministries, to consider demands presented by indigenous movement; (ii) a Committee for Indigenous Agrarian Convergence, constituted by the Minister of Natural Resources, the INA Director and representatives from the Tawahka, Pech and national CONPAH federations; and (iii) a Special Attorney's Office for Indigenous Affairs and the Protection of Cultural/Archaeological Heritage. It is fair to say that the sustained consultations and advocacy efforts by the programme and counterpart indigenous federations with INA and other government
institutions, indirectly contributed to the creation of the Convergence Committee and Special Attorney's Office.
- In September, the programme organized and hosted a meeting between the Attorney
General, the INA and COHDEFOR directors and the counterpart federations to present grievances on land invasions and human rights violations. The meeting was attended by numerous indigenous representatives and was covered by the national media. As a result, an ad-hoc commission was established by the Attorney General's office to investigate denunciations.
- In October, the programme provided logistical support and participated in a series of
marches held at several locations along the Atlantic Coast to demand government attention to the Garffuna land crisis. The marches, in which Garffuna communities were joined by school students, were organized by OFRANEH and the Garffuna NGO ODECO, receiving national media coverage.
- The programme is offering advisory and limited financial support to enhance the
bilingual/untercultural components of a recently approved US$5 million World Bank project for the educational sector, which shall be implemented through the Education Ministry.The implementation unit and the Anthropology & History Institute (the national executing agency) have actively lobbied to extend the Bank project from an exclusive focus on the larger Garffuna and Miskito groups to the smaller unrepresented tribes. In addition, the programme will co-sponsor a seminar on indigenous education involving renown practitioners from the region to sensitize Education Ministry officials and improve the project's orientation.1.3Summary of canacit i enhancement resuiLs