16 November 2007. Panama City.
Several Panamanian conservationist organizations, grassroots groups, researchers and general public interested in the natural wealth of Darién met in the Tupper Hall of the Smithsonian Institute to create a platform for national debate, aimed at bringing proper development conditions to this area of great biological relevance.
It was also the official presentation of the film “Voces del Darién”, which reflects the natural resource management problems that affect the people of Darién, and proposes economic solutions that can be successful not only in monetary but also in environmental terms. Experiences such as sustainable logging, women’s micro-businesses and national park conservation are shown in the documentary to help create a positive atmosphere for sustainable projects in the region.
Nearly 100 people were present and gave their opinion about the importance of raising awareness about the reality of Darién, now that megaprojects and fragmentation initiatives threaten the region’s biodiversity and vital role as a biological corridor. The need to seek for governmental and public support was also emphasized, in order to find economic alternatives for the people of Darien that will result in better conservation practices of protected areas.
(Photograph: Ariel Rivas receives a recognition award for his participation in “Voces del Darién”. Courtesy of Fundación Natura)