COP25: native peoples demand more participation

A topic we have heard already at the first day of the COP25 (UN Conference on Climate Change placed between the 2nd and 13th December 2019 in Madrid) was about the participation of native peoples in governmental decision-making processes on how to preserve natural resources.

During the side event “Global climate action: Indigenous rights, territories and resources”, agents from indigenous organizations from different countries of South America have noted that “since years, Amazonia’s native peoples have been facing problems as deforestation, persecution and murder of native leaders who had tried to defend their territories”. Human rights violations and the destruction of the Earth’s lungs and ecosystems should start to be viewed as a reality, a world problem, and not only an Amazonia’s problem.

Organizations as the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA) work each day to protect territories, to defend human rights and to create consulting protocols which value the fundamental knowledge that the natives hold about climate change. However, when indigenous peoples want to make changes in the regressive politics of governments such as the ones in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, they face enormous obstacles. The economic interests, with external contributions such as megaprojects, energetic concessions and violent entrances in the native territories, are made with the support of governments. In most of the cases, indeed, they are agreeing on the devastation of their land and in the pollution of rivers, causing even new diseases in women and kids.

Thanks to the native cosmovision, that can see and take action over affected fields in a comprehensive way (combining climate, consumption and human relationships), this communities have protected the Earth for thousands of years. Now, they are developing environmental reports for establishing politics and programs that defend land and peoples’ rights.
However, even if there are mechanisms like the “prior consulting”, they seem just a formality, because, actually, multinational enterprises projects skip these consult procedures which could have permitted the integration of knowledge and proposals of the native people with the vision of the economic progress. Nowadays, at a time where there is not a political goodwill to act and protect Amazonia, organizations like Climate Change work with the native peoples to demand new consulting protocols and mechanisms. A legal way should be found to deliver opinions and recommendations to governments otherwise all the job that the Amazonian communities make would be useless.

It is necessary to create an effective process that listens to the natives, such as for example a negotiation framework at the global level in which the indigenous could suggest changes in their politics. Indeed, we cannot create good plans for territories without keeping in mind the actors who live in them.

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