The Guiana Shield, South America (Brazil, Colombia, French Guyana, Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela)


Royal Holloway University of London (UK), Institute for Environmental Security (Netherlands, Belgium), IUCN – Netherlands Committee (Netherlands), Equipe de Conservação da Amazônia (Brazil), Iwokrama International Centre For Rain Forest Conservation and Development (Guyana), North Rupununi District Development Board (Guyana), The Open University (UK), Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust Consulting Ltd (UK), Università Di Torino (Italy)


European Commission

Service provided

Implementation, Research, Training

Project Description

The aim of Project COBRA was to enable and disseminate grassroots solutions to complex environmental management and governance problems in the Guiana Shield, South America using an action research approach. The project studied the impact of new environment/development funding streams on Indigenous groups, the response of civil society organisations, and strategies to influence policy and implementation practices at the local to international level.

Innovative approaches were implemented for research engagement, monitoring, evaluation, communication and dissemination, including a new systems framework, transdisciplinary and multi-scalar approaches, and participatory video and photography.

This project had high impact by: challenging conventional wisdom among stakeholders to recognise community owned solutions as a legitimate approach for social and environmental policy; contributing to improved social-environmental sustainability for Indigenous communities across the Guiana Shield; facilitating strong support for community owned solutions in European, international and national funding mechanisms and policies; increasing the capacity of local communities and civil society organisations, and; improving public understanding of community owned approaches to environmental governance.