Comuna Playa de Oro
Nestled deep in the tropical forest of Esmeraldas province on Ecuador's coast lies Comuna Playa de Oro, one of the oldest Afro-Ecuadorian settlements. Despite facing numerous threats, such as illegal mining, deforestation, encroachment of oil palm plantations, and the presence of violent paramilitary groups and traffickers, this resilient community thrives. With a population of 350 individuals from 80 families, Comuna Playa de Oro safeguards 10,000 hectares of forest in the Chocó bio-geographical region, and is part of an Indigenous area called “Territories of Life.” Recognizing the strong bond between nature and people, this community has developed sustainable income-generating activities. These include ecotourism led by women and youth, sustainable agriculture, and the establishment of bio-enterprises producing products such as cacao and cacao honey. Despite the challenges they face, the community's determination and commitment to conservation have allowed them to build a sustainable future while protecting both their forests and their cultural heritage.
Equator Prize Winner: 2023
Year of establishment: 1955
Location: Playa de Oro, Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Ecosystem: Forests; Oceans and coasts