Now, the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous peoples are part of the globe’s collective awareness. The region has returned to its central place in geopolitics and the economic life of Amazonian countries and other surrounding nations. But has the conservation movement won? Not even close. The rainforest today has different and greater challenges from those existing when the organization was founded. We have learned about the intrinsic connection that urban areas, marine ecosystems, and community well-being have with the health of the Amazon rainforest. With more knowledge, the challenges have grown broader, requiring ACT to leave its comfort zone and replicate its conservation methodology in a wider geography. At the same time, the increasing interconnected challenges have demanded interconnected solutions, pushing us to engage in wider and more inclusive networks for the benefit of our partner communities.
In the past five years, ACT’s programmatic presence has expanded to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Guyana, French Guiana, Mexico, and Peru. In cases such as Bolivia, ACT is engaging in a new geography under the context of an emergency. In others such as Mexico and Costa Rica, the organization is reconnecting with its history and amplifying its core biocultural conservation heritage. Under these circumstances of strength and growth, ACT decided to incorporate a fourth pillar into its strategic plan, “Organizational Capacity & Growth”, that would demonstrate how we make the most of our strategic coherence, teamwork, and collective impact to better carry out our mission and advance toward our vision.
It’s remarkable to track the progress of the Amazon rainforest conservation movement. For many around the world, the Amazon appeared on the radar screen some 25-30 years ago, at the same time ACT was being founded, as a biome that needed to be better understood. For the majority, it had been just a big green blur on the map of South America.