In Colombia, Peru, and throughout our region, where a person lives—their territory—can define their life. Though the region boasts booming economies, territorial inequality undermines national gains. People in remote territories are often marginalized and disenfranchised, living amid disputes over land and violence tied to natural resource exploitation. Some of these territories have been devastated by armed conflict. And too often, the voices of those impacted are not being heard. This is especially true for indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, women, young people, and rural communities.
We believe it is only when these communities participate freely and fully in decisions that affect them, including decisions related to natural resources, that the forces that perpetuate inequality can be disrupted. To build more inclusive, innovative, and sustainable territories, communities must be empowered to identify the challenges they face, and equipped to build alliances to address them.