Indigenous communities in Latin America and the Caribbean have consistently asserted that they are the best guardians of their forests. Now, a recent U.N. report has mainstreamed this argument, adding that these communities are also under increasing threat and supporting and empowering them will be the most cost-effective response, not only to tackling carbon emissions, but also to protecting biodiversity and our weather systems. “We are in a very complex situation, not only with the pandemic but with many pandemics. Extractive industries, illegal mining, deforestation, palm oil monocultures, cattle ranching,” said José Gregorio Díaz Mirabal in an interview with Mongabay. Mirabal is from Venezuela’s Guarinuma Indigenous community and is the general coordinator of COICA, a regional organization representing more than 3,000 Indigenous organizations and roughly 20,000 communities in nine Amazonian countries. This is a key year for the environment, with major summits scheduled on climate change, biodiversity, and food systems. In the face of a critical moment for the planet and its beings, these gatherings may also be the first time many of the attendees — scientific experts, representatives from civil society and Indigenous organizations, and decision-makers from governments, private companies, and international cooperation organizations — will be meeting in person since the beginning of the pandemic. Plans and approaches to tackling these global issues will be discussed and shaped in a context where post-pandemic economies will need cost-effective solutions. And Indigenous organizations like COICA are pointing out that Indigenous lands, world visions and ways of life are integral to…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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