By Letícia Araújo
.Instituto Juruá was present at the 10th Pan-Amazon Social Forum (FOSPA) which took place from 28-31 July in Belém, Pará. The event’s main objective is assessing the Amazônia: its current reality and preservation actions towards not only the biome but also the people who live there. In order to do this, people of nine Amazonian countries got together: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guiana, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
Raimundo Cunha was Instituto Juruá’s representative at FOSPA. He’s a resident of the Extractivist Reserve of Mid-Juruá and diligently works as an activist with young people from the region in favor of a greater young protagonism in the Reserve. Instituto Juruá sponsored Raimundo’s trip. Besides being the President of Amecsara (Association of Extractivist Residents of São Raimundo community) he also coordinates the group Young Protagonists of Mid-Juruá and is part of the Group of Young Leaders in Protected and Conserved Areas of Latin America and Caribe (ReLLAC-J).
Many activities were developed along the four days of event. It started with the Opening March and included cultural presentations, group discussions, and debates about several topics such as feminism in Amazônia and the climate crisis. But for Raimundo the best part was being able to discuss the youth matter: “[FOSPA] is a moment where young people really feel represented to discuss their spaces, their future instead of discussing the youth without young people.”
“Young people are the present that needs to be enabled so they can take charge of things in the future especially here in Mid-Juruá, take charge of the local institutions, the management of conservation units so that Mid-Juruá’s history can have a continuity, a better one, more beautiful than what we have today”, the young man says.
The Pan-Amazonian Social Forum was also a space of exchange between the groups that were there. Each one of them presented their achievements and struggles. The combination of activities made FOSPA a unique opportunity for Raimundo, “It was an incredible experience for me. A unique experience that contributed very much to my learning, and knowledge and it will contribute very much to me as a person, as a citizen, and as a leader.”
“So I have to thank Instituto Juruá for this incredible experience that made it possible for me to be part of FOSPA, an event that represents the Mid-Juruá because we see people really committed and engaged there, people who really seek to improve the quality of life, people who are seeking permanence in Amazônia, the permanence of the forest”, Raimundo says.