The role of Indigenous communities in the fight against climate change
August 11, 2022
Tuesday, August 9 marked International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Knowledge Hub, a project run by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, honored the occasion by publishing a guest article arguing that the involvement of indigenous and local communities is vital to the fight against climate change. The authors write that this is true not only because of these communities’ deep knowledge of the land, but also due to the historically “lower deforestation rates and lower carbon emissions” in forests owned by Indigenous Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean (Food and Agriculture Organization). Furthermore, Ellen Nemitz at Fair Planet writes, “Beyond the preservation of forests and biodiversity, which is a way of reducing the rise of global temperatures both by keeping trees standing and fossil fuels in the ground, indigenous peoples can also teach how to increase food resilience.” According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, Indigenous Peoples in the region occupy about one fifth of the total area of Latin America, or about 404 million hectares of land.
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Knowledge Hub’s guest article advocated rethinking climate financing to ensure that climate-related funds, especially the $1.7 billion pledged by governments and philanthropic foundations at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to protect the rights and lands of Indigenous Peoples, reach the hands of these populations. Despite well-intentioned efforts, Indigenous Peoples often do not receive funds allocated to them due to complex laws and requirements that vary by country or due to the lack of “legal status or the capacity to receive and manage large sums.”
Examples of government collaboration with Indigenous Peoples to protect the environment have begun to appear around the region. Most recently, Indigenous communities in the Pastaza region of Ecuador have begun working with the provincial government to “reduce deforestation and forest degradation,” reports EuroNews. The Ministry of Environment and Water (MAATE) and NGOs are also involved in the project. Chile’s new constitution, which will be put to a referendum vote on September 4, is also set to recognize Indigenous Populations for the first time if passed. Draft text of the document includes wording outlining “mechanisms for cultural and linguistic preservation and environmental protection,” according to La Prensa Latina.
However, minority communities in Latin America, especially indigenous communities, continue to face significant neglect and violence both by governments and local populations (La Prensa Latina). Despite these communities having vast knowledge of the land, they are often the first victims of climate change and environmental damage.
Argentina’s state-run oil company YPF reported a $4.8 billion revenue in the second quarter, a 44.9% increase from its 2021 numbers, reports Reuters.
The Bolsonaro administration has greatly expanded the Federal Highway Police’s budget, but the body “has begun investigating and arresting people in parts of Brazil outside its traditional jurisdiction, including parts of the country with no highways.” The Highway Police have also increasingly killed people while on duty—in the first half of 2022 alone they killed at least 38 individuals, notes InSight Crime.
Presidential frontrunner Lula has suffered numerous “adversities” and episodes of violence in the past year, leading to his security team asking for greater assistance from the Federal Police, reports CNN Brasil.
A new study about migrants in Chile finds that 34% of migrants believe that their treatment from the public has worsened over the previous 6 months, with just 14% believing it has improved, reports El Ciudadano. 52% believe that Chileans don’t like foreigners to access social benefits in the country.
In Colombia, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) works with energy companies to bring electricity and economic growth to poorer and more rural communities, often forcing the communities to choose between economic growth and environmental sustainability, reports the New York Times. Indigenous communities are especially affected by these partnerships.
Gimena Sánchez-Garzoli at WOLA writes about opportunities for the US and Colombia to help fill the gaps in the Ethnic Chapter of Colombia’s 2016 Peace Accords.
A dispute between Ecuador and the Anglo-French oil company Perenco led Luxembourg banks to freeze Ecuadorian assets in July. The country’s ability to meet its external debt obligations was not affected, according to the Ecuadorian government. (Reuters)
Members of the Garifuna indigenous group protested on Tuesday over the lack of justice and investigations surrounding the disappearance of five Caribbean Triunfo de la Cruz community members in July 2020, notes La Prensa Latina.
“The Mexican city of Guadalajara was under siege for at least 10 hours Tuesday night as a shootout between alleged members of the ruthless Jalisco New Generation Cartel and official forces took over the street” following the alleged arrest of a high-ranking leader in the cartel, reports Vice. 25 convenience stores were set fire to the cartel as well, notes Yahoo.
Inflation is reaching record highs in Mexico for recent decades, particularly in food and non-alcoholic drink prices, leading many Mexican families to cut down on more expensive food items such as meat. (AP)
“Mexico is considering investing around 30 billion pesos ($1.50 billion) to boost internet connectivity, especially in isolated rural areas, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Wednesday,” reports Reuters.
Vanda Felbab-Brown discusses in Mexico Today the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG’s foreign policy and expansion into Asia and the Pacific.
“Police and public prosecution agents searched the presidential palace in Lima on Tuesday after they had acquired an arrest warrant for Yenifer Paredes, the Peruvian president's sister-in-law, for alleged corruption and money laundering,” reports DW.
New polling shows a decline in trust in the armed forces in Brazil, continued rejection of the constitutional plebiscite in Chile, and continued high approval ratings for President Rodrigo Chaves in Costa Rica, write James Bosworth and Lucy Hale at the Latin America Risk Report.
“Mercado Libre, Latin America’s largest e-commerce company by market value, plans to expand its crypto trading feature across the region after a successful start in Brazil,” notes CoinDesk.
Venezuela’s defense minister said Tuesday that the country aims to reestablish its military ties with Colombia, reports Reuters. Colombia’s new Petro administration has said that it would reestablish ties with Venezuela.