Indigenous people comprise just 5% of the world’s population, but they steward some 80% of the world’s biodiversity. That’s not an accident. Though diverse in language, ethnicity and cultures, many indigenous groups have developed ways to live sustainably on their ancestral lands and waters over centuries or even millennia. Their worldviews often put the protection of vital resources – nature’s supermarket – above the profit motive, stemming from long-held cultural practices.
This has put many indigenous communities into direct, if unwanted, conflict with the forces of global capitalism. The results are devastating:
Indigenous communities are being displaced from their lands at alarming rates, and environmental defenders – many of them indigenous – face rising levels of violence.
Our Work to Supporting Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous people’s rights are central to our work. At a time when biodiversity is in free fall and climate change-induced extinctions loom, restoring indigenous land and water rights is our best hope for restoring balance.
We work with indigenous groups in Latin America, Southern Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, amplifying their voices and supporting their movements. We promote the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and indigenous rights over their lands, territories and cultural autonomy. We support and promote consultation protocols as a means through which indigenous communities can uphold their rights. And we strengthen indigenous communities’ capacity to recognize and advocate for their rights, working alongside indigenous-led organizations and movements to elevate and disseminate their narratives.
- Peace on the SalweenNestled beside Asia’s last free-flowing river, the Salween Peace Park in Myanmar’s Karen State (officially called Kayin State) is protecting the rights of Indigenous Karen people to self-determination, cultural survival…
- PRESS RELEASE | Expert report: Proposed gold mine in Brazilian Amazon presents unacceptable riskAn expert study released today reveals serious deficiencies in the environmental impact assessment submitted to Brazilian authorities by Canadian mining company Belo Sun.
- Covid-19 Impacts in the Amazon and Patagonia: Crisis to Opportunities SeriesBy: Monti Aguirre, Latin America Program Director (with Brent Milliken, Latin American Program Director) The global COVID-19 crisis has shed a light on the deep-seated inequities in the way our rivers…
- Belo Sun signals a restart, but controversial gold mining project in the Amazon remains suspended by three court decisionsBY: Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre On April 24th, the Canadian mining company Belo Sun released a corporate statement on its website claiming that it “successfully completed” the indigenous component of an Environmental…