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As part of its commitment to preserve biodiversity, Conservation International is helping indigenous communities in Bolivia’s Madidi-Pilon Lajas region to create a ‘green’ label for traditional Bolivian crafts.
Bolivia is one of the world’s richest centres of biodiversity, yet its rural population is also one of the poorest in South America. Around the Madidi natural park and the Pilon Lajas reserve, two protected zones covering some 2.3 million hectares are home to thousands of species of plants and animals, while 86 per cent of the local population lives below the poverty line.
Conservation International’s three-year programme aims at improving living standards for indigenous artisans, drawing on their ancestral skills and local natural resources while at the same time preserving the region’s eco-system. Qualified Bolivian designers will help local people to create quality craftworks reflecting their traditions, adapted to national and international markets. They will be trained in sustainable forest management, in compliance with social and environmental norms and accounting skills for the calculation of revenues and production costs.
Thanks to the project, 80 per cent of the local production will receive the ‘green crafts from Bolivia’ label (for the Madidi and Pilon Lajas Protected Area), generating an estimated 30 per cent rise in income for the artisans involved.