Strengthening Forest Governance with Technology

author: Gregor MacLennan
date: 2015-01-13
title: Strengthening Forest Governance with Technology
categories: – blog

Digital Democracy is teaming up with Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency to support Indigenous peoples’ organizations in the Peruvian Amazon to monitor and document rights violations and illegal logging. The project aims to reduce illegality and help strengthen the capacity of communities to control and benefit from forest resources.

View the Press Release.

In 2015 we’ll be working alongside indigenous partners in the field to develop software and mobile apps to gather, systematize, and visualize conflicts over resources, human rights violations, illegal logging, and the status of forest projects on their lands. We’re building tools that work effectively offline, in remote regions of the Peruvian Amazon.

“Indigenous people are the experts on environmental threats happening in their communities
and the forests around them, but too often they don’t have the right tools to share this information widely.” — Emily Jacobi, Digital Democracy ED.

We’ll be starting the work in Peru’s Atalaya province, in the Ucayali region — an area plagued by illegal logging and with little oversight of logging activities by Peruvian authorities.

Our partnership with EIA will bolster efforts already underway in Peru by indigenous communities and the national indigenous organization of the Peruvian Amazon, AIDESEP, to monitor forest crime and resources through a national monitoring system known as Veeduria Forestal Nacional (National Forest Monitoring Initiative).

"Under threats of violence, communities have taken initiative to map their lands,
advocate for land titling, and claim their rights to valuable forest resources.
Our partnership with Digital Democracy will help improve forest governance in the
country by making cutting edge tools available to these communities." — Annalise Udall Romoser, EIA Latin America Program Coordinator.

Our hackathon in February in Tarapoto, Peru, will help kick this work, bringing together mobile app developers, technologists, and civic-hackers from around the world. The team will help improve the User Experience design for forest monitors that have no previous experience with tablets or laptops, as well as allow the monitors to collect and share information offline and building offline workflows for photo and video data from remote regions. The apps we build will be used by forest monitors in Atalaya as well as other Dd partners in Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and Guyana.