Governance of heritage. Challenges of a community strengthen by its heritage
It is crucial to review cases where heritage works as a means of empowering sustainable communities through participative governance and learn from these mechanisms. This paper aims to explore the lessons of participative governance in Agua Blanca, a small village located on the Ecuadorian coast, where heritage -archeological remains and dry tropical forests- constitutes the primary resource. The approach is qualitative, and the methods were archive analysis, observation, and open interviews. The villagers lead participative management that is based on equality of the access and distribution of resources. Through this vision, collective economic benefits from their heritage are achieved. Besides, the dwellers reinforce their identity through their cultural and natural heritage, which contributes to its preservation. Nevertheless, Agua Blanca faces challenges as the indifference of younger generations, territorial segregation, and the lack of relationships with government organisms. To confront these obstacles, it is recognized that the community is not a stable and permanent system but rather a set of difficulties that are overcome through inclusive governance mechanisms that evolve in the face of new necessities.
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