Sustainable Natural Resource Management under Climate Aspects in Indigenous Territories in La Mosquitia’

Published: 22 February 2023
Last edited: 22 February 2023
remove_red_eye 1299 Views


The project ‘Sustainable Natural Resource Management under Climate Aspects in Indigenous Territories in La Mosquitia’, runs until 2023, aiming to achieve sustainable and climate-adapted use of the province’s natural resources. It focuses on strengthening governance structures to encourage the local population to participate in planning. 


The case of Honduras / La Mosquitia illustrates the importance of integrating justice issues into the project during the early stages of planning. Integrating these issues into governance structures and processes in the project area is essential, although project management must also consider them. The strategic entry points for anchoring justice issues include the project concept, steering structure, monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system, and staff concept. Integrating the various dimensions of justice – recognition, procedural and distributive through these entry points is a key prerequisite for justice to be considered in project implementation.


Central America
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Ecosystem services
Food security
Forest Management
Gender mainstreaming
Indigenous people
Land management
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas governance
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Land and Forest degradation
Ecosystem loss
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 5 – Gender equality
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
Aichi targets
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 18: Traditional knowledge


La Mosquitia, South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region, Nicaragua


Mosquitia encompasses the 12 Indigenous territories of the Miskitu, with about 100,000 inhabitants. More than half of rural families live in extreme poverty, and 85% of households suffer from food shortages. Women and children suffer particularly from the effects of poverty.


The forests of Mosquitia are endangered by illegal deforestation resulting from the unregulated influx of non-Indigenous cattle producers and a lack of state strategies and support mechanisms for the sustainable use of natural resources. Additionally, the indigenous territorial councils in Honduras can barely exercise stewardship over their own land. 


Moreover, climate change threatens the livelihoods of the local population as droughts, floods, forest fires, and storms become more frequent, putting pressure on agriculture and leading to crop losses. Recurring damage and rapidly changing climate conditions exceed the adaptation capacities of the local population.



25 indigenous communities located in 5 out of 12 Indigenous Territories, a population of about 12.500 inhabitants are currently benefitting directly from the project. 

How do the building blocks interact?

The building blocks highlight the importance of a justice-based approach for successful project implementation. In addition, the involvement of the local population from the beginning, both in planning and implementing ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) through agroecological approaches, was vital in providing the stakeholders with a strong sense of project ownership and political recognition of its participatory approach. The philosophy of project staff to serve more as process moderator between key stakeholders than as technical implementer of actions served to participate a wide variety of actors which focused their individual interests on the solution of common problems, in this case EbA. This led to positive side effects, as can be seen by the community “multipliers” who give their communities a kind of technical assistance already without project intervention.


By applying the FPIC approach in its work and relying on permanent on-site support from technical consultants on the Miskitu culture, the project has managed to anchor the planned development efforts in local communities and to build a sense of project ownership amongst them. By applying methods for participation and non-violent conflict resolution, particularly with respect to land-tenure issues, the project has helped settle border disputes between neighbouring territorial units and pacify different currents within the umbrella organisation MASTA of the Miskitu. This facilitated in getting central state actors and Indigenous administrations to work together to solve problems and conflicts (e.g., concerning sustainable forest management plans). As a result, these groups now have a better mutual understanding of one another’s situations, and conflict-resolution mechanisms have improved. Representatives of Indigenous communities highly appreciate the participatory and inclusive character of project planning and implementation, which the project’s directive committee also recognises as exemplary at the national level. As a consequence, the project now serves as a blueprint for the interventions of organisations such as the Department of Indigenous and Afro-Honduran Peoples of Honduras.


In the community of Dakratara, Mosquitia, Honduras lives Luz Bosen, a woman committed to growing plants and vegetables to meet her family's food needs and to set an example for here community. Before Pana Pana project was present in Dakratara, people used to plant basic crops (rice, beans, cassava, banana) on the riverplains, distant from the community. The knowledge of the population about crops was little, reason that made it easy for plant diseases and pest. The result was long ways and low crop yield, among others.


Pana Pana in action

The Pana Pana project of the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) has developed in La Mosquitia a practice that consists of a training process through the methodology of Field Schools, aimed at improving production systems with the incorporation of diversified foods and good agricultural practices from the rescue of knowledge and traditional techniques. Pana Pana established the cultivation of several crops in an ordered form and distance on the same field, raising furrows or piles to defend the seeds against inundation or drought. As fields and gardens are brought near to homes, it was necessary to teach the elaboration of organic fertilizers and pesticides in order to improve the soil. Diversification of plant species helps in this respect, but also to improve nutrition.

Luz, as community leader, now teaches here neighbors, how to diversify their diet, carry out their work close to home and harvest their own food. Luz has become a woman of reference in this community for her leadership and her diversified family garden, just as she is a reverence for an example of what women can achieve.


Contributed by

harald.mossbrucker_42653's picture

Harald Mossbrucker Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH