A two-day Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) conference opens in Bonn, Germany on 22-23 June under the shadow of increasing threats to Indigenous livelihoods from the variability of climate change and the encroachment of extraction activities on their landscapes.
Delegates will unite to join in creating a global “gold standard,” proposed by the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for Sustainable Development (IPMG), which recognizes that Indigenous and local communities are bearers of rights and solutions to common challenges.
Key presenters include Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Brazilian presidential candidate and activist Sônia Guajajara who will speak about how she knew she would not win the election in Brazil last year – but how she achieved her real objective of promoting Indigenous rights.
Other speakers include Inuk activist Aka Niviâna who creates poetry depicting the urgency of the melting Arctic of her homeland,Filmmaker Emmanuela Shinta who vividly depicts stories of discrimination against Borneo’s Dayak people and Navajo graphic designer Jolene Yazzie who designs skateboards featuring images of Indigenous women warriors as the heroines.
“By implementing the gold standard, we can both prevent human rights violations and develop conservation and restoration initiatives that embrace the key role Indigenous peoples and local communities are already playing to protect our planet,” said Joan Carling, co-convener of IPMG. “This will pave the way for a more sustainable, equitable and just future.”
Evidence shows that when local communities have authority over their forests and land, and their rights legally recognized, deforestation rates are often reduced, said Robert Nasi, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), which jointly coordinates GLF with UN Environment and the World Bank.
“We have a very effective tool for climate-change action,” Nasi said. “I refer to rights: land-use and tenure rights for indigenous peoples, women, youth and local communities.”
Indigenous peoples make up less than 6 percent of the world’s population but account for 15 percent of the poorest people, according to the United Nations. They live in some 90 countries, represent 5,000 different cultures and speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages. Over 80 percent of biological diversity is found on Indigenous peoples’ lands.