The Andes province Jujuy is located in the northwestern tip of Argentina on the border of Chile and Bolivia. Mineral deposits, pipeline transit routes and spectacular natural beauty have awakened desire among national and international investors in Jujuy. Before the 1980's, these native-lands were considered as "available to all" -- as a no-man's-land.
In 1989 the Council of Indigenous Organisations of Jujuy (COAJ) was founded to advocate for the official grants of collective land rights in more than 300 communities. The German World Peace Service (WFD) has supported COAJ in its work since 1999. Much has been achieved in this time. The legal options of collective land titles have been pushed through, the seizure of lands for tourism and mining have been prohibited, and environmental studies and remunerations have been negotiated. Some 200 communities have registered as a legal entity and around 50 communities have already won their collective land titles.
So far, the communities' strategies have largely aimed at defending their status and protecting against land seizures, environmental dangers and the destruction of cultural states from the settlement of mining-, pipeline-, and tourism ventures.
With the project "Indigenous Participation in Rural Development of Jujuy," COAJ hopes to continue this work.
The previously defensive community strategies should evolve in the coming years toward practical, effective village development plans. With the help of experts and COAJ workers, the leading committees of the indigenous communities should thereby acquire the necessary skills needed to integrate development planning in order to initiate the community projects for sustainable land use, responsible tourism, and marketing. To this end, support is needed for the political and financial backing of the organisation and for the negotiation process with the external players. That's how you can help to support the Indigenous peoples of Jujuy.