From September 8th to the 13th, the NAE Governing Council held its mid-year meeting to evaluate the activities and performance of its leaders. The meeting is known to the Achuar as “IRUNTRAR JINTINNAYATIN”, which translates roughly as “exchanging ideas and making suggestions among everyone”. This meeting is mandated by the NAE General Assembly as a way to hold its leaders accountable to the communities and NAE’s Annual Work Plan. The meeting took place in Pumpuentsa with representatives from NAE’s 10 Associations, Governing Council, and selected NGO allies.
During the meeting, the NAE leaders give reports on the activities they have coordinated and participated in during the six months following their General Assembly (in 2008, it took place in February). The Association Presidents give critical feedback to the NAE leaders, in the hopes that their comments and suggestions can help the leaders improve their work during the following six months. The meeting ends with a set of resolutions on the most important topics, which will serve as a guide for the NAE Governing Council until the Congress in 2009.
Fundación Pachamama was invited to participate in “IRUNTRAR JINTINNAYATIN” to inform the participants about the proposed Constitution for Ecuador. Together with Marlon Santi, President of CONAIE, Pachamama led a critical analysis of the new Constitution with specific focus on the Collective Rights included therein – those of Indigenous Peoples as well as those of Nature. This participatory analysis was critical because the most important detailed information relating to Indigenous Peoples included in new Constitution rarely gets to the communities given the lack of adequate communications infrastructure. This is particularly true in the face of a strong misinformation campaign being led by the opposition, aimed at cultivating doubts and confusion about the contents of the new Constitution in communities that have limited access to the actual text. In this context, the Association Presidents were able to read the most pertinent articles of the Constitution and ask Pachamama and Marlon Santi questions, the answers to which would help them facilitate conversations in their communities about the Constitution.
In the end, the meeting was a success, having enabled the NAE Governing Council to inform its local leaders about the accomplishments and setbacks it has experienced this year so far. It was also successful in that the Association Presidents held the NAE Leaders accountable for their actions and the commitments they hold with the Achuar people. The NAE Governing Council now has a clear work plan that will lead them to the NAE Congress in 2009.