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PROJECT
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Protectors of Critical Ecosystems and Livelihoods Network in Minas Gerais
 

The purpose: strengthening and exchanges between defenders of critical ecosystems and livelihoods in Minas Gerais
 

The Network of Protectors of Critical Ecosystems and Livelihoods in Minas Gerais is an action-research group made up of representatives of traditional communities, social and environmental movements, civil society organisations and researchers in five territories in Minas Gerais, in conjunction with researchers from the University of Sussex, in the UK.
 

The group promotes learning journeys and initiatives to strengthen the actions carried out by each movement participating in the Network in defense of the livelihoods of local populations and critical ecosystems in the face of the impacts of the extractive sector and intentions to expand mining operations in the region.

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Learning journeys and exchanging of knowledge

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Collaboration among territories and  collective action

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Collective reflection, evaluating progress and defining next steps

The territories that form part 
 

The Network includes representatives from five critical ecosystems in Minas Gerais - the Serra do Curral (Kilombo Manzo), the Serra do Gandarela (Salve a Serra do Gandarela), the Serro region (Quilombo das Queimadas and Movimento pelas Águas do Serro), the Pico dos Três Irmãos, in Mário Campos (Movimento Salve Mário Campos), and the Vale das Cancelas (Council of Geraizeiros Peoples of the Vale das Cancelas).

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Phases and activities

A. 2022: research and planning

The action research carried out as a prerequisite for obtaining a master's degree in Power, Participation and Social Change at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, in the United Kingdom, by the researcher and facilitator Bruna Viana, represented the starting point for the project. A group of ten activists, representatives of civil society organisations and researchers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia took part in the research.

 

In the cycle of participatory meetings that formed the process, the group reflected on the challenges and ways of overcoming the extractivist vision of development that predominates in Latin American countries. The power dynamics that permeate participatory spaces that aim to engage actors in decision-making on extractive projects and the paradoxes of establishing communicative spaces were also the focus of the author's reflections, looking at both previous experiences and the process of this action-research group itself.

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B. First semester of 2023: forming the Network

 

The network was established through a project funded  by the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, which supports cross-cutting research in the area of sustainability in the University of Sussex (UK). Researcher Bruna Viana, founder of Cúrcuma, proposed the project together with professors Dr Mika Peck and Dr Joanna Smallwood, from the University of Sussex. The project was carried out in partnership with the organisations Ecoforensic, NOSSAS, MAPAS and Caju Consultoria, as well as the movements articulated in each territory.

The actions carried out included field visits to the five territories; the Network's first face-to-face meeting, held at Kilombo Manzo in Belo Horizonte, focusing on the theme of the Rights of Nature; research; articulation actions with educational institutions, civil society organisations and public actors; and online meetings to accompany the movements.

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C. Second half of 2023 to July 2024: formative cycle 

 

In its second phase, Cúrcuma proposed the project for another round of the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme, with professors Dr Bonnie Holligan, Dr Alex Shankland and Dr Anabel Marin. Researchers Bruna Viana and Fabiana Leme are responsible for the Network's facilitation and secretariat.
 

The new cycle includes a series of training meetings with the presence of Brazilian researchers and experts and professors from the University of Sussex on topics considered key to strengthening the actions of the movements that make up the Network in protecting their territories.

Shall we work together? Get in touch.

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