MAC: Mines and Communities

Indigenous Peoples challenge Rio+20

Published by MAC on 2012-06-26
Source: Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), Declaration of Kari-Oca II

The following are some of the declarations, issued in the lead-up to last week's "Rio-plus-20" conference, by Indigenous Peoples from around the world.

More than five hundred such delegates gathered at an encampment outside Rio de Janeiro called Kari-Oca II. In their statement of 17 June, they made a plea to the rest of the world:

"We invite all of civil society to protect and promote our rights and worldviews and respect natural law, our spiritualities and cultures and our values of reciprocity, harmony with nature, solidarity, and collectivity.

"Caring and sharing, among other values, are crucial in bringing about a more just, equitable and sustainable world."

Declaration of Kari-Oca II adopted by five hundred Indigenous representatives in sacred ceremony

By Jeff Conant, for Climate Connections

19 June 2012

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Over five hundred Indigenous Peoples from Brazil and throughout the world gathered at Kari-Oca II, an encampment seated at the foot of a mountain near Rio Centro, to sign a declaration demanding respect for Indigenous Peoples' role in maintaining a stable world environment, and condemning the dominant economic approach toward ecology, development, human rights and the rights of Mother Earth.

International indigenous leaders sign the Kari-­]Oca II declaration
International indigenous leaders sign the Kari-­Oca II declaration
Photo: CPA

"We see the goals of UNCSD Rio+20, the "Green Economy", and its premise that the world can only ‘save' nature by commodifying its life-giving and life-sustaining capacities as a continuation of the colonialism that Indigenous Peoples and our Mother Earth have faced and resisted for 520 years", the declaration states.

Hundreds of Indigenous representatives plan to march from Kari-Oca on Wednesday, June 20, to deliver the declaration to world leaders at the opening of the Rio+20 Summit.

"This document is a wind that will enter the doors of Rio+20 to open the minds of the politicians, to show them that we are not merely the Indigenous Peoples that live in their countries, we are sons and daughters of the Mother Earth", said Marcos Terrena, an indigenous leader from Brazil, and one of the founders of Kari Oca.

"We are not ‘interested parties,' we are essential parties", said Terrena. "We are committed to the life of the earth and future generations. This declaration sends a message to the politicians that the economy has to change, to embrace social, cultural and spiritual values, not just economic value."

The Kari Oca II encampment, a cultural and spiritual center located in a ramshackle neighborhood not far from the site of the UN negotitations, is a historic follow-up to the Kari Oca I, which gathered at the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. The Kari-Oca conference, and the mobilization of Indigenous Peoples around the first UN Earth Summit, marked a significant step forward for an international movement for Indigenous Peoples' rights and the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in conservation and sustainable development.

But, according to leaders at Kari-Oca II, the agreements made twenty years ago have been largely ignored by world leaders, to the world's peril.

"The Kari-Oca II declaration is not just a paper. It is a sacred document that encompasses our struggles worldwide. It makes clear that we will walk the path of our ancestors," said Windel Bolinget, of the Igorot people in the Philippines.

The signing ceremony took place in the early evening outdoors amidst smoke, drums, and dancing, with hundreds of celebrants in ritual dress, and in a spirit both solemn and jubilant. The document was blessed in ceremony by spiritual elders before signing.

Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, from North America said, "Goose bumps ran up my body as I observed hundreds of brothers and sisters from around the world standing in silence acknowledging the spiritual significance of this historical moment."

"This is far more than a political declaration," Goldtooth said.

"We are happy tonight because our sacred word is written and agreed to by peoples from all over the world," said Mario Santi of Ecuador.

"The importance of this declaration is in the sacred recognition that we cannot sell the rights of our Mother Earth, and we cannot accept false solutions that manipulate nature for profit," said Berenice Sanchez, Nahua from Mexico.

The Kari-Oca II declaration

"Indigenous Peoples Global Conference on Rio+20 and Mother Earth"

17 June 2012

We, the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth assembled at the site of Kari-Oka I, sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro to participate in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, thank the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil for welcoming us to their territories.

We reaffirm our responsibility to speak for the protection and enhancement of the well-being of Mother Earth, nature and future generations of our Indigenous Peoples and all humanity and life.

We recognize the significance of this second convening of Indigenous Peoples of the world and reaffirm the historic 1992 meeting of the Kari-Oca I, where Indigenous Peoples issued The Kari-Oca Declaration and the Indigenous Peoples Earth Charter.

The Kari-Oca conference, and the mobilization of Indigenous Peoples around the first UN Earth Summit, marked a big step forward for an international movement for Indigenous Peoples' rights and the important role that Indigenous Peoples play in conservation and sustainable development. We also reaffirm the Manaus Declaration on the convening of Kari-Oca 2 as the international gathering of Indigenous Peoples for Rio+20.

The institutionalization of Colonialism

We see the goals of UNCSD Rio+20, the "Green Economy" and its premise that the world can only "save" nature by commodifying its life giving and life sustaining capacities as a continuation of the colonialism that Indigenous Peoples and our Mother Earth have faced and resisted for 520 years.

The "Green Economy" promises to eradicate poverty but in fact will only favor and respond to multinational enterprises and capitalism.

It is a continuation of a global economy based upon fossil fuels, the destruction of the environment by exploiting nature through extractive industries such as mining, oil exploration and production, intensive mono-culture agriculture, and other capitalist investments. All of these efforts are directed toward profit and the accumulation of capital by the few.

Since Rio 1992, we as Indigenous Peoples see that colonization has become the very basis of the globalization of trade and the dominant capitalist global economy. The exploitation and plunder of the world's ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as the violations of the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples that depend on them, have intensified.

Our rights to self determination, to our own governance and own self-determined development, our inherent rights to our lands, territories and resources are increasingly and alarmingly under attack by the collaboration of governments and transnational corporations.

Indigenous activists and leaders defending their territories continue to suffer repression, militarization, including assassination, imprisonment, harassment and vilification as "terrorists." The violation of our collective rights faces the same impunity. Forced relocation or assimilation assault our future generations, cultures, languages, spiritual ways and relationship to the earth, economically and politically.

We, Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world have defended our Mother Earth from the aggression of unsustainable development and the over exploitation of our natural resources by mining, logging, mega-dams, exploration and extraction of petroleum. Our forests suffer from the production of agro-fuels, bio-mass, plantations and other impositions of false solutions to climate change and unsustainable, damaging development.

The Green Economy is nothing more than capitalism of nature; a perverse attempt by corporations, extractive industries and governments to cash in on Creation by privatizing, commodifying, and selling off the Sacred and all forms of life and the sky, including the air we breathe, the water we drink and all the genes, plants, traditional seeds, trees, animals, fish, biological and cultural diversity, ecosystems and traditional knowledge that make life on Earth possible and enjoyable.

Gross violations of Indigenous Peoples' rights to food sovereignty continue unabated thus resulting to food "insecurity". Our own food production, the plants that we gather, the animals that we hunt, our fields and harvests, the water that we drink and water our fields, the fish that we catch from our rivers and streams, is diminishing at an alarming rate.

Unsustainable development projects, such as mono-cultural chemically intensive soya plantations, extractive industries such as mining and other environmentally destructive projects and investments for profit are destroying our biodiversity, poisoning our water, our rivers, streams, and the earth and its ability to maintain life. This is further aggravated by Climate change and hydroelectric dams and other energy production that affect entire ecosystems and their ability to provide for life.

Food sovereignty is one fundamental expression of our collective right to self-determination and sustainable development. Food sovereignty and the right to food must be observed and respected; food must not be a commodity to be used, traded and speculated on for profit. It nourishes our identities, our cultures and languages, and our ability to survive as Indigenous Peoples.

Mother Earth is the source of life which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a ‘natural capital.' We have our place and our responsibilities within Creation's sacred order. We feel the sustaining joy as things occur in harmony with the Earth and with all life that it creates and sustains.

We feel the pain of disharmony when we witness the dishonor of the natural order of Creation and the continued economic colonization and degradation of Mother Earth and all life upon her. Until Indigenous Peoples rights are observed and respected, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty will not be achieved.

The Solution

This inseparable relationship between humans and the Earth, inherent to Indigenous, Peoples must be respected for the sake of our future generations and all of humanity. We urge all humanity to join with us in transforming the social structures, institutions and power relations that underpin our deprivation, oppression and exploitation. Imperialist globalization exploits all that sustains life and damages the Earth.

We need to fundamentally reorient production and consumption based on human needs rather than for the boundless accumulation of profit for a few. Society must take collective control of productive resources to meet the needs of sustainable social development and avoid overproduction, over consumption and over exploitation of people and nature which are inevitable under the prevailing monopoly capitalist system. We must focus on sustainable communities based on indigenous knowledge, not on capitalist development.

We demand that the United Nations, governments and corporations abandon false solutions to climate change, like large hydroelectric dams, genetically modified organisms including GMO trees, plantations, agro-fuels, "clean" coal, nuclear power, natural gas, hydraulic fracturing, nanotechnology, synthetic biology, bio-energy, biomass, biochar, geo-engineering, carbon markets, Clean Development Mechanism and REDD+ that endanger the future and life as we know it.

Instead of helping to reduce global warming, they poison and destroy the environment and let the climate crisis spiral exponentially, which may render the planet almost uninhabitable.

We cannot allow false solutions to destroy the Earth's balance, assassinate the seasons, unleash severe weather havoc, privatize life and threaten the very survival of humanity. The Green Economy is a crime against humanity and the Earth.

In order to achieve sustainable development, states must recognize the traditional systems of resource management of the Indigenous Peoples that have existed for the millennia, sustaining us even in the face of colonialism. Assuring Indigenous Peoples' active participation in decision making processes affecting them, and their right of Free Prior and Informed Consent is fundamental. States should likewise provide support for Indigenous Peoples appropriate to their sustainability and self determined priorities without restrictions and constricting guidelines.

Indigenous youth and women's active participation must also be given importance as they are among the most affected by the negative impacts brought by the commodification of nature. As inheritors of Mother Earth, the youth play a vital role in continuing defending what is left of their natural resources that were valiantly fought for by their ancestors. Their actions and decisions amidst the commercialization of their resources and culture will determine the future of their younger brothers and sisters and the generations to come.

We will continue to struggle against the construction of hydroelectric dams and all other forms of energy production that affect our waters, our fish, our biodiversity and ecosystems that contribute to our food sovereignty.

We will work to preserve our territories from the poison of monoculture plantations, extractive industries and other environmentally destructive projects and continue our ways of life, preserving our cultures and identities.

We will work to preserve our traditional plants and seeds, and maintain the balance between our needs and the needs of our Mother Earth and her life sustaining capacity. We will demonstrate to the world that it can and must be done.

In all matters we will gather and organize the solidarity of all Indigenous Peoples from all parts of the world, and all other sources of solidarity with non-indigenous of good will to join our struggle for food sovereignty and food security.

We reject the privatization and corporate control of resources such as our traditional seeds and food. Finally, we demand the states to uphold our rights to the control of our traditional management systems and by providing concrete support such as appropriate technologies for us to develop our food sovereignty.

We reject the false promises of sustainable development and solutions to climate change that only serve the dominant economic order.

We reject REDD, REDD+ and other market-based solutions that focus on our forests, to continue the violation of our inherent rights to self determination and right to our lands, territories, waters, and natural resources, and the Earth's right to create and sustain life.

There is no such thing as "sustainable mining." There is no such thing as "ethical oil."

We reject the assertion of intellectual property rights over the genetic resources and traditional knowledge of Indigenous peoples which results in the alienation and commodification of Sacred essential to our lives and cultures.

We reject industrial modes of food production that promote the use of chemical substances, genetically engineered seeds and organisms. Therefore, we affirm our right to possess, control, protect and pass on the indigenous seeds, medicinal plants and traditional knowledge originating from our lands and territories for the benefit of our future generations.

The Future We Want

In the absence of a true implementation of sustainable development, the world is now in a multiple ecological, economic and climatic crisis; including biodiversity loss, desertification, deglaciation, food, water, energy shortage, a worsening global economic recession, social instability and crisis of values.

In this sense, we recognize that much remains to be done by international agreements to respond adequately to the rights and needs of Indigenous Peoples. The actual contributions and potentials of our peoples must be recognized by a true sustainable development for our communities that allows each one of us to Live Well.

As peoples, we reaffirm our rights to self-determination and to own, control and manage our traditional lands and territories, waters and other resources.

Our lands and territories are at the core of our existence - we are the land and the land is us; we have a distinct spiritual and material relationship with our lands and territories and they are inextricably linked to our survival and to the preservation and further development of our knowledge systems and cultures, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem management.

We will exercise the right to determine and establish priorities and strategies for our self-development and for the use of our lands, territories and other resources. We demand that free, prior and informed consent must be the determinant and legally binding principle of approving or rejecting any plan, project or activity affecting our lands, territories and other resources.

Without the right of Free Prior and Informed Consent, the colonialist model of the domination of the Earth and its resources will continue with the same impunity.

We will continue to unite as Indigenous Peoples and build a strong solidarity and partnership among ourselves, local communities and non-indigenous genuine advocates of our issues. This solidarity will advance the global campaign for Indigenous Peoples rights to land, life and resources and in the achievement of our self-determination and liberation.

We will continue to challenge and resist colonialist and capitalist development models that promote the domination of nature, incessant economic growth, limitless profit-seeking resource extraction, unsustainable consumption and production and the unregulated commodities and financial markets. Humans are an integral part of the natural world and all human rights, including Indigenous Peoples' rights, which must be respected and observed by development.

We invite all of civil society to protect and promote our rights and worldviews and respect natural law, our spiritualities and cultures and our values of reciprocity, harmony with nature, solidarity, and collectivity. Caring and sharing, among other values, are crucial in bringing about a more just, equitable and sustainable world.

In this context, we call for the inclusion of culture as the fourth pillar of sustainable development.

The legal recognition and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to land, territories, resources and traditional knowledge should be a prerequisite for development and planning for any and all types of adaptation and mitigation to climate change, environmental conservation (including the creation of "protected areas"), the sustainable use of biodiversity and measures to combat desertification. In all instances there must be free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.

We continue to pursue the commitments made at Earth Summit as reflected in this political declaration. We call on the UN to begin their implementation, and to ensure the full, formal and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all processes and activities of the Rio+20 Conference and beyond, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

We continue to inhabit and maintain the last remaining sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity hotspots in the world. We can contribute substantially to sustainable development but we believe that a holistic ecosystem framework for sustainable development should be promoted. This includes the integration of the human-rights based approach, ecosystem approach and culturally sensitive and knowledge-based approaches.

We declare our solidarity and support for the demands and aspirations of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil found in the Annex to this Declaration.

We Walk in the Footsteps of our Ancestors.

Accepted by Acclamation, Kari-Oka Village, at Sacred Kari-Oka Púku, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 17 June 2012.

Indigenous Peoples International Declaration on Sustainable Development and Self-Determination

Statement of the Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Sustainable Development and Self Determination

19 June 2012

Rio De Janeiro

Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world met at the "Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Sustainable Development and Self Determination," from June 17th - 19th 2012 at the Museu da República in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

We thank the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil for welcoming us their homelands and express our solidarity for their struggles against imposed development such as the Belo Monte Dam which threaten their homelands and ways of life. We also thank indigenous peoples from all regions of the world for their preparatory activities and engagement in this process.

We affirm with one voice that it is time to assume the historical responsibilities to reverse centuries of predation, pollution, colonialism, the violation of rights and genocide. It is time to assume the responsibilities towards our future generations. It is time to choose life.

1. Culture as a fundamental dimension of Sustainable Development

As Indigenous Peoples, our fundamental cultural belief systems and world views based on our sacred relationships to each other and Mother Earth have sustained our peoples through time. We recognize the contributions and participation of our traditional knowledge holders, indigenous women and youth.

Cultures are ways of being and living with nature, underpinning our values, moral and ethical choices and our actions. Indigenous peoples' abiding survival is supported by our cultures, providing us with social, material, and spiritual strength. We believe that all societies must foster cultures of sustainability, and that Rio +20 should highlight culture as the most fundamental dimension of sustainable development.

2. Full Exercise of our human and collective rights

We see that Mother Earth and all life is in a serious state of peril. We see the current model of development continues to proceed on the road of peril. As indigenous peoples we have experienced the terrible and negative impacts of this approach. These threats extend to peoples in voluntary isolation.

Sustainable development is realized through the full exercise and fulfillment of human rights. Indigenous Peoples see sustainable development and self-determination as complementary. Progress in various countries has happened to the extent that States have fulfilled their duties to respect, protect and promote our human rights, while conflicts have escalated where governments have imposed top-down development, whether labeled "sustainable", "pro-poor" or "green".

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the standard to be applied in the implementation of sustainable development at all levels, including respect for full participation in decision-making and our Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) to policies, programmes and projects affecting us.

3. Strengthening diverse local economies and territorial management

For Indigenous Peoples, self determination is the basis for Buen Vivir/ living well , and this is realised through secure land rights and territorial management and the the building of vibrant community economies. These local economies provide sustainable local livelihoods, community solidarity and are critical components of resilient ecosystems.

We will continue to strengthen and defend our economies and rights to our lands, territories and resources, against extractive industries, predatory investments, land-grabbing, forced relocation and unsustainable development projects. These include large scale dams, plantations, large-scale infrastructure , tar sands extraction and other mega-projects, as well as the theft and appropriation of our biodiversity and traditional knowledge.

From the conference emerged many answers to address the global crises, as varied as the many cultures present at the meeting. The greatest wealth is nature's diversity and its associated cultural diversity, both of which are intimately connected and which should be protected in the same way.

Indigenous peoples call upon the world to return to dialogue and harmony with Mother Earth, and to adopt a new paradigm of civilization based on Buen Vivir - Living Well. In the spirit of humanity and our collective survival, dignity and well-being, we respectfully offer our cultural world views as an important foundation to collectively renew our relationships with each other and Mother Earth and to ensure Buen Vivir/ living well proceeds with integrity.

Based on these affirmations and agreements, we commit to carry out the following actions:

Within and among Indigenous communities, Peoples and Nations

1) We will define and implement our own priorities for economic, social and cultural development and environmental protection , based on our traditional cultures, knowledge and practices, and the implementation of our inherent right to Self-determination

2) We will revitalize, strengthen and restore our institutions and methods for the transmission of our traditional knowledge and practices focusing on transmission by our women and men elders to the next generations

3) We will restore knowledge and trade exchanges, including seed exchanges, among our communities and Peoples reinforcing the genetic integrity of our biodiversity.

4) We will stand in firm solidarity with each other's struggles to oppose projects that threaten our lands, forests, waters, cultural practices, food sovereignty, traditional livelihoods, ecosystems, rights and ways of life. We also stand in solidarity with others whose rights are being violated, including campesinos, fishers and pastoralists.

Regarding Actions of States and Corporations:

1) We will continue to reject the dominant neo-liberal concept and practice of development based on colonization, commodification, contamination and exploitation of the natural world, and policies and projects based on this model.

2) We insist that States fully implement their commitments under National and International laws and standards which uphold the inherent, inalienable, collective and inter-generational rights of Indigenous Peoples and rights affirmed in Treaties, Agreements and Constructive Arrangements, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No. 169.

3) We will reject and firmly oppose States policies and programs that negatively impact Indigenous Peoples' lands and territories, ecosystems and livelihoods, or which permit corporations or any other third parties to do so.

At the United Nations

1) We insist on full and effective participation in all discussions and standard setting activities regarding sustainable development, biodiversity, environment and climate change and for the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in all these processes.

2) We will carry these messages to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP, 2014) and all other International processes where our rights and survival are affected. We propose that Indigenous Peoples vision and practice of Sustainable Development be a focus of discussion at the WCIP.

We adopt this Declaration on the 19th of June, 2012, in Rio affirming our rights and reiterating our sacred responsibilities to future generations.

1. Tebtebba (indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education)   16 indigenous partner organizations in 13 countries in Asia, Latin America, Africa
2. Coordinadora Indígena de Centro América  (CICA) 7 National Federations in 7 countries
3.  Coordinadora Indigena de Mesoamerica  (CIMA)
4.  Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact  (AIPP) 39 indigenous peoples’ national federations in 13 countries in Asia
5.  Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas de las  Américas    (ECMIA) – 29 member organizations in 21 countries in South, Central and North America
6.  MPIDO (Mainyoto Pastoralists Integrated Development Organization) – coordinates the African Indigenous Peoples’ Network on Climate Change
7.   Coordinadora Indígena de la Cuenca Amazónica (COICA) – 9 members which are National Federations of Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations in 9 Amazon Basin Countries     
8.   International Treaty Council (CITI)
9.   Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas (CAOI – Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in Andean Countries)
10.  Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas (FIMI)
11.  RAIPON (Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples in the North)
12.   Alianza de Mujeres Indígenas de México y Centroamérica (Alianza)
13.  First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
14.   Dene Nations
15.   Saami Council (Saami communities and organizations in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia)
16.  Indigenous Peoples’ Organization Network of Australia
17.  Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC)
18.  UNISONS Nous Pour la Promotion des Batwa (UNIPROBA)
19. National Indigenous Women Federation (NIWF)
20.  Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (AIWN) – Indigenous women’s organizations in 13 countries in Asia
21. Consejo Regional de la Región Autónoma Atlántico Norte RAAN                                                                   
22. Centro para la autonomía y desarrollo de los pueblos indígenas (CADPI)
22. Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand
23.  He Waka Matanrango
24.  Cook Island Civil Society
25. Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance
26. Chepkitale Indigenous Peoples’ Development Project
27.  Northwest Territories Regional Office, Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
28.  Arctic Athabascan Council
29.  Hillala Moroc Pour le Solidaritas
30.  Association of Indigenous Leaders of Surinam
31.  Community Research and Development Services (CORDS)
32. Inter-Ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon (AIDESEP)
33.  Conselho Indigena da Roraima (CIR)
34.  First Nation Saami
35.  Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nations (NEFIN) –59 indigenous peoples in Nepal
36.  Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN, Federation of Indigenous Organizations and Communities in Indonesia) – 2000 communities and organizations with 15 million members
37.  Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas de la Argentina (CONAMI)
38.  Asociación de Mujeres Indígenas de la Costa Atlántica (AMICA)
39.  Coordinadora Nacional de Mujeres de México
40. Centro de Cultura Indígenas del Perú (CHIRAPAQ)
41.  Coordinadora Nacional de Communidades Afectadas por la Mineria (CONACAMI)
42.  Confederacion Sindical Unica de Trabajadores Campesinos de Bolivia (CSUTCB)
43. Bangsa Adat Alifuru
44.  Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Surinam (OIS)
45.  Federation of Autonomous Organizations of French Guiana (FOAG)
46.  Red de Jóvenes de la Alianza
47.  Organization of Indigenous Peoples of  the Colombian Amazon (OPIAC)
48.  Association of Amerindian People
49.  Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB)
50.  Regional Organizations for Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon (ORPIA)
51.  Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE)
52.  Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB)
53.  Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas de Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ)
54.  Articulaçao de Povos Indigenas do Sul (ARPINSUL)                                                   
55.  Articulação do Povos Indigenas do Nordeste Minas Gerais e Espirito Santo (APOIME)
56. Articulação dos Povos Indigenas do Sudeste (ARPINSUDESTE)
57.  Centro Mocovi
58. Conselho Continental da Nação Guarani (CCNAGUA)
60.  Red Nacional de Jóvenes Indígenas de Venezuela
61.  Consejos de Ayllus Originarios de Potosi
62. CEPRODI (Centro de Proyectos para el Desarollo Integral Indigena)
63. Chief Devasish Roy - Member, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) – Asia Indigenous Expert
64. Valmaine Toki – Member, UNPFII, Pacific Indigenous Expert
65. Chief Ed John – Chair, UNPFII, North America Indigenous Expert
66. Myrna Cunningham – Member, UNPFII, Latin America Indigenous Expert
67. Francisco Cali – Vice President (UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, CERD)
68. Vital Bambanze – Member, Expert Mechanism on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights
2,000 indigenous peoples’ representatives who participated in the IX Acampamento Terra Livre of the Peoples’ Summit endorsed this Declaration
Ratificado por Terra Libre

With support from:
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Ford Foundation

NGOs who supported the Conference
1. International Workgroup on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
2. Forest Peoples’ Programme

Indigenous peoples insist on rights-based approaches and respect for traditional knowledge and practices in Rio+20 outcomes

Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) Press Release

20 June 2012

Rio de Janeiro - As government representatives start formal negotiations in Brazil to seek agreements on so-called ‘green economy' policies and to assess progress in fulfilling commitments on environment and development made at the Rio Earth Summit twenty years ago, indigenous peoples from all over the world have come together at the Rio+20 global summit to put forward their own solutions for sustainable development and to flag serious risks associated with government ‘green' proposals. Jean La Rose of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA), Guyana, said:

"Governments, international agencies like the World Bank and NGOs are pushing for new low carbon development policies in countries like Guyana. Official information on these initiatives does not match our experience. Our communities have not been properly consulted so far and there are no secure safeguards for our land and territorial rights and right to free, prior and informed consent. At the same time, plans for mega dams, roads and continued logging and mining operations in our forests are being developed in the name of ‘green growth', which risks generating multiple harmful impacts on our peoples."

Indigenous leaders are also present at the negotiations to highlight the historical and present contributions of indigenous peoples' cultures, traditional knowledge and practices in sustaining the world's most fragile ecosystems. They are also raising concerns that despite protection under international treaties and agreements, in many countries traditional livelihoods and practices remain under threat from outdated environmental policies as well as from new REDD+, PES and protected area initiatives that seek to restrict or criminalise customary use of land and natural resources. Peter Kitelo of the Ogiek people in Western Kenya said:

"Government policies at the international and country levels do not recognise the need for legal and land tenure reforms, which are desperately needed in order to recognise the rights of indigenous peoples. In Kenya there is now a lot of talk among government agencies about sustainable development and community forest management, yet the government is seeking to sell concessions for plantation development and REDD+ projects on our lands without our free, prior and informed consent..."

Leaders also express grave concerns over increasing threats to their lands and livelihoods stemming from land grabbers and the growing global demand for food, fibres, fuel, minerals, hydrocarbons and other resources. Robert Guimaraes Vasquez of the Shipibo people in the Peruvian Amazon said:

"While governments are coming to Rio to talk about sustainable development, in my country, Peru, the pressure is growing day by day from policies of the national government that seek to open up our remote forest territories to transnational companies through road infrastructure projects. These mega projects pose severe threats to indigenous peoples and in particular those autonomous groups in voluntary isolation. How can this be sustainable? We all know it is not just. Yet governments spin this destructive form of development around and call it poverty reduction and investment for national development..."

Indigenous peoples' organisations and activists are calling on governments to fully implement their commitments to uphold human rights, including rights to lands and resources as an essential cornerstone for achieving socially just and ecologically sustainable development. They also call on States to fully recognise the importance of cultural diversity and local economies in maintaining ecosystem integrity and sustainable livelihoods. Onel Masardule of the Kuna people and Foundation for the Promotion of Traditional Knowledge of Panama said:

"Governments in most countries have already signed up to human rights agreements and environmental treaties and have endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We are here in Rio once again to demand that States fulfil their obligations and commitments in all development policies, finance and actions and put proper arrangements in place at the national level to implement these agreements. Our rights must be secured so that our lands and territories are maintained for the benefit of our future generations and the whole of humanity."



For further information and/or to arrange an interview with any of those quoted above, please email:
Francesco Martone (
Tom Griffiths (

Forest Peoples Programme

1c Fosseway Business Centre
Stratford Road
Moreton-in-Marsh, Gloucestershire GL56 9NQ
United Kingdom

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