Forum on Participatory Mapping in Latin America:
Participatory Cartography and Rights to Territory and Resources
In collaboration with the University of Texas (Austin), the Caribbean Central American Research Council (CCARC) and the University of the Andes, RRI will organize a a Forum on Participatory Mapping in Latin America on June 1-3, 2011.
Background and Objective:
Participatory mapping practice represents an important change in the uses of maps for land and resource management. Where historically, cartography was a tool used by high level powerful actors to redefine their reach and control over territory and resources (top-down), truly participatory mapping is now based on the appropriation of local communities of these tools, and their adaptation for the purpose of staking out their own claims over land and resources (bottom-up). It is an attempt to redefine their relationship with the state, in many cases based on historic land and resource rights taken from them, or de facto and customary rights.
In this Forum, we seek to learn from past experience through a critical examination of the past practice of social or participatory mapping in order to garner lessons learned and to share with others using these instruments. We will explore the potentials and pitfalls of emerging tools and strategies in documenting and mapping land and resource use and rights in ways that are democratic, ethically sound, based on traditional knowledge, and effective in strengthening the capacity of forest peoples to manage and protect their lands and the resources on them, against the backdrop of new pressures and opportunities emerging from the globalization of interest in forest resource and management.
We will focus in particular on participatory mapping, which we recognize has served important roles in documenting and representing such rights in the past several decades. However, we also contend that given the new challenges to forest rights (extractive industry, bio-fuels, etc), and given the profusion of new remote sensing documentation and Internet-based visualization technologies, we must critically examine and, if necessary, redefine past approaches and methods.
We therefore see this Forum as an opportunity to explore the above in an effort to garner the lessons learned and explore the need to re-conceptualize participatory mapping practice to incorporate new approaches, corrections and additions in the actual practice and to disseminate these reflections throughout the wider ´community of practice,´ within and beyond Latin America, particularly Africa and key countries in Asia where tenure reforms have not yet been undertaken.
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Key Conference Documents:
Agenda for the forum program (Spanish)
Social Mapping and the Struggles for Local Rights to Territory and Resources: The Latin American Experience (English). The following is a synthesis of lessons learned from the presentations and critical reflections that transpired at the Forum, but it is also an attempt to outline what we see as major trends and future implications of participatory mapping in the context of the continuing struggle for land and resource rights.
Exploring the Roles of Participatory Mapping (English). A Summary of literature search. The literature review is presented in three sections.
I. Indigenous peoples‟ rights to land and resources.
II. Global climate change and its relevance for indigenous peoples‟ rights to land and resources.
III. Participatory mapping and its relevance for indigenous peoples‟ rights to land and resources.
Forum Session Abtracts (Spanish)
Forum Participant Biographies (Spanish)
Preguntas claves para las sesiones (Spanish)
Forum Poster (Spanish)
Mapping, Territory and Identity (English). A concept note
Mapeo Participativo: Estado del Arte (Spanish). A concept Note.
Territorio, Derechos, y el Nuevo Contexto Político - Económico (Spanish). A concept note.