Biodiversity at Cop15: the controversial UN plan, which puts indigenous populations at risk

If we think animals and plants should be protected, does the same apply to humans? Are there peoples more expendable than others? And if this were established in the name of a common future on biodiversity, is it possible that these are precisely the ones who best respect other living beings on Earth? According to NGO like Amnesty International and Survival Internationalthe Cop15the United Nations conference on biodiversity that is being held in Canada, launched a project that puts the survival of many human populations at risk: the oldest, the most defenseless, the most harmonious as a lifestyle with the nature that we want to save.

Flying drone with camera

And the 30×30 proposalone of the founding pillars of the summit’s objectives: it is about turn 30% of the planet into ‘protected areas’ by 2030. In a joint statement, several organizations denounce that “without serious revision, the so-called 30×30 target it will destroy the lives of many indigenous peoples” who live in these protected areas.

The points:

  1. What is Cop15
  2. The lives of 300 million people are at risk
  3. Which indigenous peoples are most at risk
  4. Protect human biodiversity
  5. Effective actions
  6. Other worlds

What is Cop15

It is the most important global event for the protection of biodiversity, which involves 196 nations and is led by the United Nations. In Canada, where COP15 is being held which ends on 19 December, an attempt is being made to overcome a twenty-year impasse, given that objectives signed in two important previous editions, those of 2002 and 2010have been almost entirely missed. St

above all, according to insiders, due to lack of funds: according to a United Nations report, around 350 billion dollars a year would be needed to successfully face the challenge of the collapse of biodiversity. But one of the most debated points concerns the budget which, according to many developing countries where there are areas of biodiversity to be protected, should rise to 700 billion dollars a year. On the other hand, the issue under wraps, also due to the very low representativeness of indigenous populations at Cop15, is that of the 30×30 project.

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The lives of 300 million people are at risk

Overall, the 30×30 project is interesting 300 million people according to Survival International estimates, the global movement for indigenous peoples. This is just under 70% of the 460 million indigenous people who live on the planet: of these, about 150 million individuals belong in the strict sense to the “tribal peoples”, or 5,000 communities in 70 countries spread over five continents. They range from the less numerous ones such as the Akuntsu to the larger and well-known ones such as the Quechua (10 million individuals), the Nahuatl (5 million), the Aymara (2 million). Together they make up close to 6% of all people on Earth: almost three out of four among these they may be interested from the measures of the 30×30 project of Cop15. Which at first glance looks like simply a massive initiative to protect biodiversity.

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In many parts of the world, protected areas are militarized and violent – explains Fiore Longo, head of the campaign to decolonize conservation of Survival International -. They are created without the consent of the indigenous and local inhabitants who have lived on those lands for generations. This is a massive land grab carried out in the name of conservation. Often, the inhabitants of these territories come illegally evicted. The rangers then restrict or deny locals access to their own lands by depriving them of livelihoods and identities: they cannot even access their cemeteries and sacred sites. The park rangers themselves commit atrocities against locals who try to enter their lands to feed their families or who do not want to leave their homes in the forest. They are frequent abuse, rape, torture and even murders. Once emptied of their original inhabitants, often with violence, the lands pass under the control of local elites or conservation NGOs who can then enter into agreements with those who want to exploit their resources. Very often the doors are opened to mass tourism, trophy hunting and even the extractive industries. The 30% plan will double the amount of land allocated to protected areas and is very likely to double the number of these crimes as well.”

Which indigenous peoples are most at risk

These are above all those that live in areas with the greatest biodiversity in the world, such as the Amazon rainforest and the Congo Basin, where many indigenous peoples and other local communities live. “The lives of the Baka in the Congo Basin, the Bushmen in Botswana, the Masai in Tanzania and the Adivasi tribes in India are being destroyed by those who claim to want to protect nature. Therefore, it is inevitable that within the framework of the 30×30 – whose primary purpose is the protection of nature – one significant share of the new protected areas will be built on indigenous lands, especially in the global South”, continues Longo.

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