Conservation International is an environmental organization that has worked in Suriname for the last 25 years, and 30 years internationally in 40 countries to protect nature for the benefit of people.
Suriname is a small country on the north-eastern coast of South America. It’s defined by vast swaths of tropical rainforest, Dutch colonial architecture and a melting-pot culture. On its Atlantic coast is the capital, Paramaribo, where palm gardens grow near Fort Zealandia, a 17th-century trading post. Paramaribo is also home to Saint Peter and Paul Basilica, a towering wood cathedral consecrated in 1885.
After an extensive engagement process with the indigenous communities in South Suriname, the indigenous leaders of the region signed an Indigenous Declaration for the protection of 7.2 million hectares of pristine tropical forest. This area is about 40% of Suriname’s land surface and approximately half the size of the state Pennsylvania and five times the size of the Grand Canyon.
Moreover, almost half of Suriname’s headwaters spring from this southern part of the country, which contributes in great part to Suriname’s ranking as a freshwater rich country with 10% of worlds freshwater in rivers. By signing the document, the indigenous communities declared the Southern Suriname Conservation Corridor (SSCC) on March 5, 2015.
The task of ensuring the south of Suriname remains untouched will be a big task for the south Suriname conservation corridor. As the people of south Suriname said themselves “we live in the forest, we live from the forest and we live with the forest” and this is not a relationship that should be ended.
By Alex Mitchison