The tourism sector that develops in protected areas of wild flora and fauna suffered the devastating consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension of tourism led to the loss of jobs and income, funds were withdrawn from conservation projects, and as a result, poaching increased in many parts of the world.
To this was added a fourth element: widespread food insecurity.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) launched a call in April 2020 to support communities that depend on tourism in wilderness areas.
Among the nine beneficiaries of the “COVID-19 Response: Wildlife Community Resilience Grants” The Achuar indigenous community of Ecuador was counted, which struggles to combat the deterioration of its forests.
The Ecuadorian Amazon, which is home to more than 10% of the world’s biodiversity, is threatened by the oil industry, mining, illegal logging and human expansion, but the Achuar indigenous community of southeastern Ecuador worked tirelessly to save their natural environment. through ecotourism.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic was a severe blow to tourism, whose income was used to support the conservation and education activities carried out by this indigenous community.
The UNDP grant served to train twelve indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest in sustainable home gardening methods, increasing the diversity of local cultivated species. The funds were also used to finance community group businesses for the sale of local handicrafts and products at the regional and national level, including a network and platform to connect buyers and producers in the local area.
Meet all the beneficiaries of this project on the UNDP website.