We prototyped the first Conservation ActionLAB, a “war room” type of space for the UCCLAN to come together in times of conservation emergencies and rapidly design effective advocacy campaigns for civic involvement in decision-making. We exchanged knowledge and completed the design of a campaign for a current emergency, the Andean Chocó Biosphere Reserve threatened by mining in Ecuador.
The contributions of UCCLAN members during the ActionLAB we tested within a concrete conservation emergency. The Andean Choco Biosphere Reserve in Ecuador covers more than 100,000 hectares of native forest and diverse climates and geographies. It is a biodiversity hotspot and a place where a large section of the population currently works together to build the shared vision of long-term well-being. Biodiversity and people’s sustainable livelihoods are currently threatened by projects involving the mining of gold and copper, mainly. Over 12 legal, illegitimate mining concessions exist, other 6 are in the process of being approved, as well as dozens more illegal mining sites. Both types of mineral extraction will inevitably contaminate local land and watercourses. It is a conservation emergency that needs our attention.