The Iquitos Declaration
The Coordinating Body for Indigenous Peoples' Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA)
invited 15 representatives from 12 environmental groups to meet from 9 to 11 May 1990 at a
"First Summit Between Indigenous Peoples and Environmentalists" in Iquitos, Peru. Ten human
rights and aid groups, Cultural Survival among them, were invited as observers. The meeting
provided an opportunity for indigenous peoples and environmentalists to understand each other's
concerns. Both sides attempted to establish a joint strategy for conserving the Amazonian rain
forest by supporting indigenous claims for control of their territory and resources. The groups
that attended agreed and signed the document that follows, called the Iquitos Declaration.
Plans were made in Iquitos to hold a second "summit" to develop concrete coordinated actions
and to continue the dialogue. A committee, made up of representatives from each of the member
organizations of COICA and a total of three representatives from environmental organizations,
was named, and met in Washington, DC, in September to organize the next meeting.
Having met in the city of Iquitos from May 9 to 11, 1990 between the Coordinating Body for
Indigenous Peoples' Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) and environmental and
conservationist organizations to analyze the serious deterioration of the Amazon biosphere and
look for joint alternatives.
We consider that the recognition of territories for indigenous peoples, to develop programs of
management and conservation, is an essential alternative for the future of the Amazon.
We recognize that we must look for adequate mechanisms to reach this objective, that include
ways to channel international technical and financial resources.
We recognize the importance of indigenous peoples' own proposals for the management and
conservation of the Amazon.
We recognize the need for actions of diffusion, studies or projects to advance the territorial and
societal rights of the indigenous peoples and the recognition of the value of their culture,
according to the proposals of COICA and according to the particular objectives of each
environmental and conservationist organization.
We conclude that in order that these considerations be put into practice, it is necessary to continue
working as an Indigenous and Environmentalist Alliance for an Amazon for Humanity.
We decide to make this joint work concrete through the formation of a provisional Coordinating
Committee of the environmentalists that are present and COICA, which will meet in September,
1990, in the city of Washington, D.C., to continue analyzing and designing the best strategies for
the defense of the indigenous Amazon.
COICA was founded in 1984 by national Indian organizations of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador,
Colombia, and Brazil.
Source: Cultural Survival Quarterly (1990) 14(4), p. 82.