Contribution of the Global Alliance to the Ministerial Roundtable on Indigenous Groups and Local Communities from the UK
We are keen to understand what works in terms of national policies & programmes. We would welcome any positive examples of where Indigenous People and Local Communities have secured rights and support to manage forests. Why are they working – what are critical “ingredients”?
Case studies in Petén, Guatemala, with community forestry concessions, or in Peru, with the model of Executors of Management Contracts (ECAs) for forested areas, show that indigenous peoples and local communities are very efficient agents of forest conservation. There is a lot of scientific evidence out there that shows that, when rights are secured, indigenous peoples and local communities are the best stewards of biodiversity and forests.
We are looking to identify opportunities to deliver transformative changes for Indigenous People and Local Communities and their forests in the super year 2021 and would welcome your thoughts on this.
A UK led initiative supporting directly Indigenous People and Local Communities would be a first, and a very welcome one.
It is important to understand that over the years, in order to fight against land grabbing, illegal deforestation or mining, and other threats affecting our territories, we have been organizing ourselves, with elected leaders, from the community level to national organizations, such as CONFENIAE in Ecuador, COICA in the Amazon, and now, at a global level with our new platform, the Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, which speaks for forest populations in 17 countries. Governments often ignore our own organization efforts, or try to victimize our leaders to undermine the defense of the territories. Talk directly to our elected and legitimate representatives of territories! However, we are implementing restoration projects in some areas, or monitoring deforestation in others; when there is technical and financial support, we would be the frontline defenders of natural resources and biodiversity.
How could trade measures be used to support Indigenous People and Local Communities?
There is currently a law in France that will allow Colombian and Brazilian indigenous organizations to open very soon a lawsuit against a French supermarket chain that sells in Colombia and Brazil meat coming illegally from deforested areas and indigenous territories. However, the supermarket corporation repatriates the gains to France and that’s why we intend to have the law applied there. We need more laws like this. We could be happy to collaborate with the UK in designing its own laws.
How can we better understand and mitigate unintended negative impacts of scaling up nature protection and restoration on Indigenous People and Local Communities?
Again: Talk to our elected and legitimate representatives of territories!
The representative organizations of the territories need to be strengthened in order to be efficient interlocutors. With scarce resources, sometimes swimming upstream, we have been able to do a lot. With professional support, both technical and financial, we could be much more effective. But let us work with professionals and NGOs that we know and trust, and these are not necessarily the ones living in the limelight.
Free, prior and informed consent should be our guiding principles in any collaboration effort.
Photo: If Not Us Then Who