Colchester used his Pew award to address the problem of balancing the social needs of indigenous communities, which are undergoing rapid social and economic change, with their environment. He aimed to develop a practical, problem-solving approach to help indigenous communities evaluate the environmental implications of their changing livelihoods and take appropriate institutional measures to establish control. The ultimate goal was not just to help specific communities solve their long-term environmental management problems but also to help identify replicable approaches to stimulate this kind of problem-solving on a wider scale.
As a result of his efforts, in March 1997, Colchester held a conference on indigenous peoples and protected areas in Latin America. The conference was funded by the European Commission, DANIDA and SIDA and involved international participants including indigenous people, anthropologists and representatives of three major conservation organizations. They looked at 15 case studies from throughout Latin America which were in turn analyzed and commented on by a panel of conservationists and indigenous peoples.
Marcus Colchester's primary work has focused on securing indigenous people's rights to their lands and livelihoods by pressing for policy change at grass-roots, national and international levels. His initial work at the national level in Venezuela focused on indigenous land rights, health, bilingual education and development policy. Colchester also initiated a successful process to establish a protected area in the Upper Orinoco.
His work with the World Rainforest Movement concentrates on promoting indigenous networks and supporting indigenous control of forests at the same time that he presses for changes in development policy and projects that threaten these objectives.
Ph.D., Oxford University
1982: Social Anthropology, England
Diploma, Oxford University
1977: Ethnology, England
Master of Arts, Oxford University
1974: Zoology, England
KEY LEADERSHIP POSITIONS
Responsible Forestry Programme
1991: Honorary Adviser on Amazon Development
UK Tropical Forest Forum
KEY AWARDS & HONORS
1994: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment
SSRC Ruggles-Gate Trust and Emslie-Hornimann Foundation Awards