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Protectors of Critical Ecosystems and Livelihoods Network in Minas Gerais

Action research with activists, representatives of traditional communities and civil society organisations engaged in the preservation of ecosystems and livelihoods in the face of mineral exploration intentions


The second stage of the cooperative research into non-extractivist development models for Latin America consisted of forming a group with representatives from five territories in conflict with mining in Minas Gerais - Mário Campos, Serra do Curral, Serra do Gandarela, Serro and Vale das Cancelas - to explore how the Rights of Nature could contribute to preserving the ecosystems and livelihoods of local populations in each of these contexts. The process was supported by organisations working on Rights of Nature (Ecoforensic and MAPAS) and creating campaigns for political pressure (NOSSAS) and made possible by a call for proposals from the University of Sussex.

Over the course of six months, we made field visits to each of the territories, as well as a meeting in Belo Horizonte. The visits to the territories included conversation circles, meetings and listening to residents. Then, on 5-7 June 2023, two representatives from each territory joined the teams from the three organisations for a three-day meeting at Kilombo Manzo in Belo Horizonte.

The process generated a network of exchanges and mutual strengthening between the territories involved, which remained active in 2024 with another round of support from the SSRP. This time, the central theme is territorial rights and common land ownership rights. The project envisages a series of learning and knowledge-sharing journeys on relevant topics mapped by the territories to strengthen the movements.


The choice of how to carry out the mapping and connecting with the mobilised groups was guided by the intention of strengthening connections between the active actors in each territory and between them and the teams working on the project. In this way, we hoped to create a network of exchanges that would potentialise other relevant actions for promoting the Rights of Nature in Brazil.

To achieve these objectives, we used the action research approach, in which the people who experience the reality in question are invited to actively participate in defining the research path, its usefulness and practical applications, placing themselves simultaneously as subjects and co-researchers in reflection and action. In practice, this has revealed itself in creating a space for collective exchange and research into the realities of each territory, in sharing resistance strategies between the groups and in the participatory definition of priorities for the next steps.


Phase funded by the Sussex Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) Fund 7: March to July 2023.

Phase funded by the Sussex Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) Fund 8: November 2023 to July 2024.


Project coordination in Brazil: Bruna Viana

Proponent professors from the University of Sussex: Mika Peck and Joanna Smallwood (March to July 2023); Alex Shankland, Anabel Marin and Bonnie Holligan (November 2023 to July 2024)

NOSSAS team: Camila Bahia and Roberto Andrés

MAPAS Team: Vanessa de Oliveira Hasson, Fabiana Leme, Helena Dolabela and Giovanna

Caju Consultancy Team: Carolline Querino and Ceylan Hassan


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