The Sacred Headwaters Initiative

The Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative seeks to forge a new, post-carbon model for the region, off-limits to industrial-scale resource extraction and where fossil fuels are left in the ground.


Map of Sacred Headwaters region of the Amazon rainforest.

The Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative is a project to permanently protect 86 million acres of Amazon rainforest in Ecuador and Peru, off-limits to industrial-scale resource extraction and governed by Indigenous peoples.

This Initiative was born from a vision of the Indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Peru and their NGO allies (Fundación Pachamama, Pachamama Alliance, and others) to permanently protect their Amazonian lands, one of the most biodiverse and sacred regions on Earth. 

The goal of the Initiative is that the Amazon Sacred Headwaters region—the Napo, Pastaza, and Marañon River basins—is placed in permanent protection, off limits to industrial scale development, and is governed in accordance with Indigenous principles of cooperation and harmony. It will become a model for a societal transformation to an ecological civilization by the year 2030.

  • 86 million acres of Amazon rainforest will be protected
  • Over 45% of the area is Indigenous territory
  • 1.9 billion metric tons of C02 emissions will be avoided
  • Over 30 Indigenous peoples and nationalities call this region home
  • Plans for 1 Indigenous reserve for peoples in voluntary isolation

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