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Equator Initiative Case Study - Autonomous Workers’ Association of San Rafael, Tres Cruces, and Yurac Rumi (ASARATY)

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The Autonomous Workers’ Association of San Rafael, Tres Cruces, and Yurac Rumi (ASARATY) brings together indigenous Quichua-Puruháe (Kichwa) communities in the central Ecuadorian Andes in the sustainable management of 8,000 hectares of montane grassland adjacent to the Sangay National Park. The association represents the local agrarian communities of Guarguallá Chico, Guarguallá Grande, San Rafael, Tres Cruces, and Yurac Rumi, and works to conserve the park’s forest and grassland ecosystems by promoting low-impact livelihood activities.
Recognizing that ecosystem degradation was resulting from inappropriate agricultural practices and intensive grazing, ASARATY has promoted innovative and responsible ways to use local resources, including sustainable alpaca-rearing and ecotourism. By generating sustainable income sources for the communities’ members, the initiative has helped to conserve this critical grassland reserve and mountain watershed. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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