In 2012 the General Assembly of the Indigenous Kichwa People of Sarayaku adopted the Declaration of Kawsak Sacha (The Living Forest), which declares their ancestral territory of Sarayaku a Living Forest that is alive and conscious and a subject of rights—something that they, as an ancestral nation, have recognized since time immemorial. The Declaration states it’s exercise of the right to self-determination, and calls on the Ecuadorian government – supported by the constitutional recognition of the plurinationality of the Ecuadorian State – to recognize the Kawsak Sacha as a living being and subject of rights as further protection of the territory of Sarayaku.
The Declaration states: “KAWSAK SACHA is a living being, with consciousness, constituted by all the beings of the Forest, from the most infinitesimal to the greatest and supreme beings. It includes the beings of the animal, plant, mineral, spiritual and cosmic worlds, in intercommunication with human beings, and providing them with what is necessary to revitalize their psychological, physical, spiritual facets, thus restoring energy, life and balance of the original indigenous peoples.”
The Declaration has been presented to numerous national, international, and indigenous bodies, including: the National Assembly of Ecuador (2013); COP21 (2015) and COP23 (2017); the IUCN World Conservation Congress in 2016; the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) in 2016; and the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) in 2017. The Declaration was reviewed and updated in 2018.