The Law 70 of 1993 recognized black communities as an ethnic group and defined their collective property rights on the public lands in diverse watersheds draining into the Pacific Basin that they have traditionally occupy. This Law also established mechanisms for the protection of the cultural identity and rights of these communities, and for the promotion of their economic and social development, since their use and protection of natural resources are based on traditions, ancient practices, relational local forms (e.g. confidence and reciprocity) and "nested institutions". As part of the implementation of this law, several Black Community's Councils were created in the Pacific Basin. Two of them are the Alto y Medio Dagua, and Cuenca Baja del Río Calima, which are the selected case studies in Colombia. The former has 2150 inhabitants, while the second one has 3550 inhabitants approximately. These Consejos possess a collective heritage and mythology that marks them as a human group with a common history, based upon their origins as slaves brought from Africa to America in Colonial times. Both Community Councils are located in the Chocó biogeographic region. This region has been recognized internationally as one of the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. This region boasts several types of ecosystems ranging from cloud and mountain forests to coastal mangroves. The mountain forests cover diverse types of mountains and protect the network of streams and rivers that feed freshwater to extensive mangrove forests. There are a variety of ecosystems built by the combination of different climates and elevations, which makes this territory a sanctuary for an important number of endemic and endangered species. In addition, threatened migratory species (e.g. birds) visit this territory.
Communities in this territory have an economy based on the exploitation of natural resources such as forests, soils and minerals, fisheries and sceneries. Several social-environmental conflicts can be observed in this territory: conflicts for accessing natural resources (e.g. illegal timber extraction, mining and hunting), overexploitation of natural resources (particularly forest and fisheries), infrastructure development affecting ecosystems and local communities, access to and forms of use of water, presence of illicit crops and illegal armed groups.