Within the framework of the World Tourism Day 2013 we were invited by the department of environmental affairs and productive development of the municipality of Leticia to give a presentation in the auditorium of Leticia’s library Leticia about Proyecto Yahuarcaca and the local community ecotourism initiative PAINÜ. Elkin Demetrio, one of our compañeros, opened the presentation by showing and explaining one of his impressive drawings which perfectly fits the theme of the World Tourism Day 2013 – Tourism & Water.
When finished he gave the floor to Santiago Duque – coordinator of the laboratory of Limnology from the National University of Colombia (UNAL) here in Leticia who informed the wide public about the regional context, the annual dynamics of the Amazon river landscape and its relevance in terms of biodiversity, productivity of fishery, forestry, agriculture and more and more touristic activities. He highlighted the necessity to conserve and manage the water bodies and floodplains in a sustainable manner and finished his part the close collaboration between the UNAL and the communities from the Yahuarcaca lake area from which derived the Community Fishery Management Organization – TIKA – and the community-based ecotourism organization PAINÜ as an alternative for fishery and to promote a sustainable management.
From that point on, Elkin took over again and elaborated more on PAINÜ; their mission, what they have done so far and the problems and challenges they are facing and working on. One of these challenges he mentioned was to strengthen the knowledge of the PAINÜ tourist guides, not only traditional knowledge of nature but also to achieve more academic knowledge and linked his chat to Project Yahuarcaca and gave the floor to Camila Pérez. As part of the team she gave a clear general outline of the project; the antecedents, the pillars of the project, the objectives and finally in which aspects the project meets the principles of the Planes de Vida of AZCAITA – an indigenous entity representing the communities of the project area.
After all it was more than worth it to participate and we thank the department of environmental affairs and productive development – Leticia – for their invitation.
By Kees van Vliet