For time immemorial, the indigenous peoples of the Andes have relied on their extensive understanding of the ecosystem to exist in harmony with the environment.
The Amazonian and Andean regions of South America are home to some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. Of the top ten ‘megadiverse’ countries in the world, six are in Central/South America. Four of these countries house part of the Andes, and five house part of the Amazon rainforest (Hyatt 2014).
The direct recall referendum – a bottom-up mechanism of direct democracy (MDD) activated by signature collection among citizens and designed to remove an elected authority from office – has become one of the most intensively used mechanisms of citizen participation in South America, particularly in the Andean countries. To give some examples, between 1997 and 2013, more than 5,000 recall referendums were activated against democratically elected authorities from 747 Peruvian municipalities (45.5 percent of all municipalities).