On Monday 8th December indigenous peoples from around the world gathered in Lima to hold a public hearing with Vicky Tauli Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Assembling for the latest UN climate conference, indigenous peoples travelled to Peru to raise awareness about the destruction of their forests and call for a human-rights based approach to climate change.
The hearing came at the beginning of a crucial week of climate change negotiations, which are expected to finalize an agreement for an action plan on climate mitigation and adaptation, starting in 2020, and set the foundation for negotiations that are expected to lead to a climate pact in Paris in December 2015.
At the hearing, indigenous peoples from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Latin America offered testimonies on the threats facing their forests including the construction of highways and mega dams, the exploitation of oil and gas, the expansion of palm oil plantations, industrial logging and mining. Indigenous leaders including Alberto Pizango, President of AIDESEP and Rene Ngongo, winner of the Right Livelihood Award in 2009, highlighted the devastating impact forest destruction has had on their lives, including the ongoing murders, assassinations and prosecutions of indigenous peoples’ who stand up to forest destruction and extractive activities that encroach on their land.
Indigenous leaders from Guyana, Panama and Peru shared their experiences and perspectives, providing solutions based on recognition of land and territorial rights and traditional knowledge, community-based conservation and participatory mapping.
The event was accompanied by the launch of a report documenting a growing crisis in the forests of 9 countries, including Peru, Colombia, Liberia and Malaysia. The report suggests that despite the commitments of governments and the private sector to protect forests, the destruction of tropical forests is accelerating, and the lives of the indigenous peoples who live in these forests are increasingly at risk.
For further background details on the hearing visit: http://invisibleperu.com/cop20/
Download a copy of the global review here