Marka Cololo

In 1999, the communities of Agua Blanca, Antaquilla, Nubepampa, Cololo, Puyo Puyo and Katantika united to constitute the Marka Cololo Copacabana Antaquilla, based on the Cololo main ayllu, officially recognized as such since 1817. The same year they presented a territorial claim to the Bolivian authorities for a collective communal land over an area of 40,000 ha. In 2008 the first polygon over an area of 32,914.14 ha was titled whilst a second polygon is still pending.

Between 2010 and 2011, WCS provided support to the process of development of the Integrated Territorial Management Plan or Life Plan of the Marka, which was conducted with the participation of authorities from the Marka, Sullka Markas and representatives of its eight constituent ayllus. On May 12th of 2012, the document was formally approved by the General Assembly and the authorities of the Marka in its different levels assigned responsibility for its implementation.

The Life Plan of the Marka looks towards the organized and sustainable management of their territory, the development of alternative sustainable livelihoods, strengthening of their social organization and establishment of the foundation for the construction of internal rules and agreements allowing for concerted management and the harmonious coexistence of its people. It includes a land management component, the territorial development plan and the strategic institutional plan. The plan includes specific plans for the Sullka markas and ayllus, prepared on the basis of their priorities and specific proposals, as part of the shared vision of the overall Marka management plan.

The first component of the Plan is a land use plan, reflected in the zoning map of the Marka Cololo Copacabana Antaquilla, that defines areas where activities such as firewood collection, fishing, agriculture, tourism and mining may be conducted, as well as identifying sacred sites, preservation areas, lakes, wetlands, glaciers and areas for vicuña management, among others. These areas were identified and agreed upon by the ayllus in the workshops carried out to analyze the current and potential use of land, and to analyze the compatibility of these land uses in order to ensure the long term sustainability of resources natural and community development.

The Marka development plan establishes the strategic framework, including the common vision, objectives, strategic guidelines and development programs: production and economy, education and culture, environment and climate change, organization and autonomy, natural resources, health, sports and basic services. Its implementation is organized in projects and initiatives directed towards improving the quality of life and development of sustainable livelihoods in the context of land use planning.

A third component of the Life Plan is the institutional strategic plan, which includes the mission of the territorial organization, the common vision that reflects the desired image of the organization in ten years, the principles representing ethical guidelines for institutional actions, values and moral qualities of the members of the organization and the organizational strengthening programs: autonomy and self-governance, organizational structure, development of planning and management skills, technology and equipment, leadership and leadership development, management and financing and internal regulations. Each program contains their own objectives and specific strategic guidelines.

On the other hand, several key policy instruments for territorial management were developed and approved such as the Organic Statutes and the Internal Regulations of the Marka, as well as the General Regulations of Access, Use and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the Marka Cololo Copacabana Antaquilla.

Currently the Marka, with support from WCS, is working on the establishment of a comprehensive monitoring system to measure and assess the impacts and effects of the implementation of the Life Plan on the territory and the local population of the Marka; as well as on the design of a monitoring and evaluation system for implementation and compliance with the Life Plan. At the same time, the Marka has prioritized the process of establishing its indigenous territorial autonomy.

As part of the development of livelihoods alternatives, the community of Agua Blanca is involved in the project: Strengthening Biocultural Tourism in the Apolobamba region, implemented by WCS jointly with the Biocultura National Program. The project aims to enhance the tourist route Pacha Trek: Charazani-Curva-Pelechuco-Apolo, to improve household income, strengthen the culture and conserve ecosystems.