Directory of Guiana Shield Civil Society Organisations
CSOs in the Guiana Shield
A wide range of international, national and local CSOs are operating in the Guiana Shield countries. According to research conducted by Tierra Viva Foundation in 2010, in Venezuela alone, there are over 100 environmental NGOs that are developing projects to promote environmental education, conservation and further improve the citizens’ quality of life. In addition, numerous organisations are representing the wide range of indigenous communities across the Guiana Shield.
In general, the knowledge base of CSOs in the Guiana Shield in the fields of ecological knowledge and values, environmental threats, and socio-cultural strengths and weaknesses is relatively advanced compared to many other contexts in South America. Many local socio—ecological systems are still relatively intact because the region has experienced only limited rates of ecosystem degradation and loss. Nevertheless, local and regional CSOs have become aware both of the current increasing threats to the region's socio—ecological system and the opportunities for sustainable alternatives, such as the REDD+ and CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) finance mechanisms. These opportunities include the increased channelling of resources and capacity building.
Over the years, conservation and development projects in the Guiana Shield have significantly improved the capacity for communities to engage in monitoring, reporting and verification procedures required by, for example, REDD+.
One ‘showcase' intervention has been the Guiana Shield Initiative
(GSI). This project has built local capacity in the use of techniques, technologies and tools such as remote sensing, GIS, participatory cartography and sharing visual material about the local situation with a range of collaborating partners.
A range of projects have enhanced the knowledge-base on the potential impacts of the international demand for resources from the Guiana Shield region, be they in the form of goods, such as minerals (gold, diamonds), timber, (poached) animals and plants, or of land for oil-palm, rice, coca, cattle, or for infrastructure (roads, dams, transmission lines).
This has strengthened the position of the CSOs and the communities they serve. As part of the Amazon the Guiana Shield region is also involved in new Amazon-wide initiatives that help raise awareness of the issues in the region such as the Red Amazonica lnformacion Socioambiental Georefferenciada
(RAISG), which stimulates the cooperation and sharing between local organisations that work with socio-environmental geographical information systems.
CSOs can be categorised in many different ways, for example based on their role in socio-environmental issues; the strategies and methodologies they use; their organisational structure and origin; their media exposure; their relation with other organisations and the means they possess to pursue their aims. These factors in turn determine the role they may play or are playing in relation to the development and implementation of international policies (e.g. research, advice, advocacy, partnerships, monitoring and practical implementation).
Several attempts have been made to conceptualize the civil society, among which is the CIVICUS civil society index
(CSI). Obviously, the range of CSOs in the Guiana Shield includes national subsidiaries of big international NGOs like WWF
and Conservation International
(Cl) and small organisations of local origin like the Amerindian Peoples Association
(APA) in Guyana. In general the small organisations cover local problems and local geographical areas and the bigger ones cover larger areas. However, often big international CSOs both support projects on a local geographical scale and pursue a regional (cross-boundary) or international focus.
Selection of CSOs active in the socio‐ecological system of the Guiana Shield
When possible each organisation is classified according to the following categories:
Conservation and development CSO
Specialised research CSO
Social and environmental activist CSO
(Source: IUCN NL and IUCN Sur)
About this Directory
This directory and the accompanying Guiana Shield Action Guide have been produced in Project COBRA: The Role of Community Owned Solutions in Sustainable Environmental Management and Governance in the Global South
Project COBRA was supported by a three year grant from the European Commission Seventh Framework Programme. The contents of this directory are the sole responsibility of Project COBRA and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.