New “Ayahuasca Dialogues” Report Highlights Novel Approaches to Amazonian Rainforest Conservation, Sustainable Growth, and Community Revitalization
Research centers on benefits and challenges of improving the safe use and sustainability of the traditional Amazonian medicine ayahuasca.
Report includes a foreword by Dr. Dennis McKenna.
A new report from the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC) demonstrates how improving the safe use and sustainability of ayahuasca can promote vibrant forests, strong communities, cultural revitalization, and sustainable economic development.
Ayahuasca, as a pillar of Amazonian identity and culture, is rapidly gaining global prominence as a psychological tool, religious sacrament, and subject of multi-disciplinary interest. As a global influx of tourists meets local communities in the Amazon, and ayahuasca spreads around the world, safety and sustainability challenges are threatening the reputation and future of this ancient medicine.
Based on hundreds of interviews from over a year of research, the report outlines a process to build consensus on ayahuasca safe use and sustainability practices from the ground up so that all voices are represented. The result of this consensus building process—the Ayahuasca Agreement—will provide a benchmark for ayahuasca centers, communities, and farms to be recognized for implementing safety and sustainability practices. The ESC expects that, by 2016, ayahuasca pilgrims in the Amazon will be able to find ayahuasca centers and communities that adhere to the Ayahuasca Agreement, demonstrating credentials in sustainable medicinal plant cultivation, sustainable tourism, and safe jungle experiences.
“Every year, over 100,000 people are making pilgrimages to the Amazon to drink ayahuasca,” said Joshua Wickerham, ESC Co-Founder and Executive Director. “We have the chance to educate and improve the safety of these visitors while also bringing benefits to local communities.”
“The ESC’s efforts are greatly appreciated,” expressed Gina Guerrero Ramírez, director of regional directorate of foreign trade, tourism, and handicrafts (DIRCETURA) in Iquitos, Peru, with which the ESC has jointly organized roundtable discussions as part of the Ayahuasca Dialogues. “Sustainable ayahuasca tourism with well-trained professionals can bring economic development opportunities for the Amazon in ways that benefit communities and the forests. We congratulate the ESC on this research and look forward to continuing dialogue that can improve the quality of sustainable tourism offerings in Peru.”
“We are pleased to pilot test the Ayahuasca Health Guide and participate in the Ayahuasca Dialogues,” said Roldan Paredes Rojas, director of Peruvian NGO Fundación Amazonia Viva in Juanjui, Peru. “With globally agreed-upon principles, we can be sure that the cooperatives we work with offer visitors the safest ayahuasca ceremonies that also provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities.”
“As ayahuasca grows from beyond the Amazon to the rest of the world, we expect that the Ayahuasca Dialogues process will provide a post-prohibitionary model,” said Jonathan Thompson, ESC Co-Founder and Operations Director, “We are building a model that honors ancestral traditions, respects traditional peoples, and offers a body of evidence of safety and medical efficacy that can allow more people access to this life-changing medicine.”
Download the full Report and Executive Summary here.
For inquiries, please contact the ESC at info[at]ethnobotanicalcouncil.org
View a PDF of this press release.
The ESC is very grateful to the hundreds of supporters who made this report possible, especially the hundreds of donors via our Ayahuasca Dialogues Indiegogo campaign. (Supporter names coming soon).