This article is available also in spanish here
Climate change, identity and decision-making: the challenge of defending the rights of indigenous peoples in Latin America
My list

Author | Tania Alonso Bathed by rivers and oceans and covered in forests, grasslands and mountains, Latin America is one of the richest regions of the world in terms of biodiversity. However, it is also the deadliest region in the world for land and environmental defenders.In 2019, 212 people were murdered in the world for trying to defend their territories from deforestation or overexploitation. More than two thirds of these deaths took place in Latin America, particularly among indigenous communities in countries such as Colombia. Therefore, the problem arises as a result of significant social inequalities, errors in the management of territories and in the recognition of the rights claimed by these communities and their identity.

The true value of land

For Latin American indigenous communities, the land and their territories are particularly important to their identity. Their very culture is related to the land and nature that surrounds them. For centuries, this way of seeing the world has clashed with the western way, focused on the exploitation of nature for financial purposes.However, it would be a mistake to only refer to the spiritual value of the land to understand the intentions of the indigenous communities of Latin America. Their environment also has an important economic potential, which very often they are unable to use. According to UN figures, around 60 million indigenous peoples (which accounts for 10% of the entire population) lag behind on all social and economic indicators worldwide, despite the wealth of their territories.The social value also comes into play: guaranteeing their territorial rights is the first step for indigenous communities to be able to take part in the political, cultural and social issues in their countries.

In defense of indigenous rights

According to the report ‘Defending Tomorrow: The climate crisis and threats against land and environmental defenders’ released by the NGO Global Witness, 148 land and environmental defenders were murdered in 2019 in Latin America. According to the same report, indigenous peoples continue to be at a disproportionate risk of reprisals. Across the globe last year, 40% of murdered defenders belonged to indigenous communities.These figures clash with their rights, established in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Among others, this declaration guarantees their right to have their own relationship with their land and resources, and to use these.A group of indigenous koreguaje kids play by the beachHowever, as indicated by the FAO, the administration of the land and territories of indigenous communities does not just depend on the internal management and governance methods of each community, but also on the attributions granted to them by the governments. Often, poor management of the territory by one of the two parties leads to problems and conflicts. The indigenous peoples claim that some governments and private companies are taking control of territories to profit from them, with the subsequent social and environmental impact.

In terms of solutions

In addition to the conflicts, sometimes, there are positive stories resulting from the correct administration of the territories. This is the case of the Maya Biosphere Reserve, in Guatemala, where a forest concession scheme managed by communities has reduced deforestation, fires and looting of archaeological sites. Indigenous and local communities have achieved a sustainable management system, which also provides them with economic benefits.From experiences like this, it is clear that in order to guarantee the rights of the indigenous communities, collaboration is required between their own representatives, the states, international and inter-governmental entities and private companies.States are responsible for guaranteeing their freedom of assembly and expression and their right to decide how their territory is managed. Companies are responsible for putting an end to the illegal acquisition of land and the unlawful use of natural resources, bad practices that endanger the environment and their lifestyle. Images | Scott Umstattd, Steven Gaviria

Related content
How many people can Earth support?
How many people can Earth support?
What is geoengineering and how can it be used to create resilient cities?
What is geoengineering and how can it be used to create resilient cities?
Blue Economy: Living with the Oceans and from the Oceans
Blue Economy: Living with the Oceans and from the Oceans
Felix Finkbeiner | Interview | Why We Need a Trillion Trees
Felix Finkbeiner | Interview | Why We Need a Trillion Trees
The Fight for a Pollution-Free Planet
The Fight for a Pollution-Free Planet
What has made Copenhagen the green capital of the world?
What has made Copenhagen the green capital of the world?
Turning Climate Action Risks into Opportunities
Turning Climate Action Risks into Opportunities
Odile Rodriguez de la Fuente | Keynote Session | Climate for Change
Odile Rodriguez de la Fuente | Keynote Session | Climate for Change
Renewable energy generation: description, types and objectives
Renewable energy generation: description, types and objectives
What happens to an ecosystem that experiences a prolonged drought?
What happens to an ecosystem that experiences a prolonged drought?
Pros and cons of Wind Energy: Advantages and challenges
Pros and cons of Wind Energy: Advantages and challenges
How is ocean pollution affecting humans?
How is ocean pollution affecting humans?
What is decarbonization? Targets and processes
What is decarbonization? Targets and processes
Rainwater catchment systems: from cisterns to smart infrastructures
Rainwater catchment systems: from cisterns to smart infrastructures
Where does recycling end and greenwashing begin?
Where does recycling end and greenwashing begin?
Connected agriculture: the Internet of Things extends to farming
Connected agriculture: the Internet of Things extends to farming
Projecting the port of the future 👉 Port of Barcelona, IV Strategic Plan 2021-2025
Projecting the port of the future 👉 Port of Barcelona, IV Strategic Plan 2021-2025
What is sustainable waste management and why should cities embrace it?
What is sustainable waste management and why should cities embrace it?
URBACT across EU countries: driving change at National Level
URBACT across EU countries: driving change at National Level
Smart water management: real cases of IoT that are helping to improve cities
Smart water management: real cases of IoT that are helping to improve cities
How Chennai wants to build resilience to climate change and the threats to its wetlands
How Chennai wants to build resilience to climate change and the threats to its wetlands
How Portugal is becoming a Smart Nation
How Portugal is becoming a Smart Nation
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x03: Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
Tomorrow.Podcast 1x03: Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
PODCAST 1x03 - Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
PODCAST 1x03 - Reorganization of public space: who owns the streets?
The three principles of sustainability and how to implement them in cities
The three principles of sustainability and how to implement them in cities
Sustainable food: reality or fantasy?
Sustainable food: reality or fantasy?
The countries predicted to lose the most with climate change
The countries predicted to lose the most with climate change
Young children are intuitive urban planners — we would all benefit from living in their ‘care-full’ cities
Young children are intuitive urban planners — we would all benefit from living in their ‘care-full’ cities
A city of empty houses: How work from home, job losses hit Bengaluru's residential rentals
A city of empty houses: How work from home, job losses hit Bengaluru's residential rentals
Energy needed a digital revolution – and we are it
Energy needed a digital revolution – and we are it
How the power of IoT makes smart cities a reality
How the power of IoT makes smart cities a reality
Laura Tenenbaum, scientist and communicator: We will lose some battles against climate change
Laura Tenenbaum, scientist and communicator: We will lose some battles against climate change
Cities: the unexpected driving force behind a green global revolution
Cities: the unexpected driving force behind a green global revolution
Heatwaves and urban heat islands: what are cities to do?
Heatwaves and urban heat islands: what are cities to do?
Malmo, the Swedish city that is neutralising its climate impact by betting on renewable energies
Malmo, the Swedish city that is neutralising its climate impact by betting on renewable energies
What we can learn from Oslo’s waste management system
What we can learn from Oslo’s waste management system
Zero-mile farming: infographic
Zero-mile farming: infographic
Smart Forest City Cancun: a futuristic orchard in the middle of the Riviera Maya
Smart Forest City Cancun: a futuristic orchard in the middle of the Riviera Maya
Which are the 10 greenest cities in the world?
Which are the 10 greenest cities in the world?
Do we consume more energy per capita, or less?
Do we consume more energy per capita, or less?
Smart City holidays: What will tourism be like in the future?
Smart City holidays: What will tourism be like in the future?
Solar cities: an opportunity not to be missed
Solar cities: an opportunity not to be missed
Recovering energy from traffic: positive energy roads
Recovering energy from traffic: positive energy roads
From nocturnal trucks to AI: how urban waste management is changing
From nocturnal trucks to AI: how urban waste management is changing
Amsterdam launches a modular urban lighting system
Amsterdam launches a modular urban lighting system
Copenhagen’s green future is built on the rooftops
Copenhagen’s green future is built on the rooftops
How does a city face the pandemic - Infographic
How does a city face the pandemic - Infographic
Geothermal energy: a simple solution for making urban heat more sustainable
Geothermal energy: a simple solution for making urban heat more sustainable
Climathon, cities get together to tackle the climate emergency
Climathon, cities get together to tackle the climate emergency
Brasilia, the smart city of the past
Brasilia, the smart city of the past
Recommended profiles for you
Remember to activate your profile to network!
Activate profile
Rm
RAQUEL mURILLO
Ayuntamiento de Málaga
Ayuntamiento
JT
José Torres Lam
REVISTAENERGIA.PE
Manager
LC
LLUIS COCA
Simar
Sales manager
YM
Yolanda Moliner
LIVEN BATTERY IBERICA
Delegada Cataluña
AT
Assumpció Termens
ICGC-CSPCOT
Geospatial Data Scientist
TC
TINO COLIN
AVANZIA APLICACIONES
Director de Área
AL
Adriana Linares
Management
Management
JC
Juan Felipe Calderon
Isagen
It Manager
ML
Matheus Lage
CML Energy
CEO
DIXON BRYAN
DIXON BRYAN
B&B TECH SOLUTIONS
CEO FOUNDER
Pru Ashby
Pru Ashby
London & Partners
Head of Key Accounts
AS
Aditya Singh
Bangmatric
Hello, I am working as a developer in company
MF
Manu Fernandez
Anteverti
International events curator
Héctor Canas
Héctor Canas
BABLE UG
Smart City Consultant
VERLAGUET LAURENT
VERLAGUET LAURENT
EIFFAGE ENERGIE SYSTEMES - IPERION
Director of French market about cities and communities in Eiffage company
Marie ZEZULKOVA
Marie ZEZULKOVA
Ministry of Regional Development
Director of the Regional Policy Department
JG
Jose Vicente Garrido
Intehral Innovation Solutions
Ceo
MC
Marta Chillida Munguet
Ajuntament de Granollers
Environmental and sustainability technician
MP
Michael Poplawski
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Principal investigator, Connected Lighting Systems Research
TA
Taher Alnemer
AMCL-ADT
Director

Only accessible for registered users
This content is available only for registered users
TO: $$toName$$
SUBJECT: Message from $$fromName$$