Martin Von Hildebrand

Martin Von Hildebrand, Founding Director of Gaia Amazonas

Gaia met the anthropologist Martín von Hildebrand in 1989 when he was negotiating as Colombia’s government representative, for the landmark International Convention on the Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ILO Convention 169).

In1990 Gaia established support from the European Commission for putting the conservation of the Colombian Amazon firmly in the hands of its indigenous peoples. Martín resigned from government and set-up a local organisation, Gaia Amazonas, and together with Gaia, the indigenous people and other partners, the long term programme COAMA (Consolodation of the Amazon) was launched.

Today, over 25 million hectares of the Colombia’s Amazon forest is being preserved by the indigenous communities, who have taken on the rights and responsibilities of local governance. In 1999 the COAMA Programme received the Right Livelihood Award for its achievements. In 2015, Martin successfully persuaded the president of Colombia to lead in establishing an ‘eco-cultural corridor’ protecting up to 230 million hectares of rainforest stretching from the Andes to the Atlantic coast.

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