The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Brazil fights illegal logging to protect Amazon natives

Brazil fights illegal logging to protect Amazon natives

Brazil said Monday it was working hard to stop illegal logging in Amazon rainforest land inhabited by the ethnic Awa people, a group said to be threatened with extinction.

This file photo shows an aerial view of a burnt out sector of the forest at an illegal settlement in the Amazon state of Para, nothern Brazil. Brazil said on Monday it was working hard to stop illegal logging in Amazon rainforest land inhabited by the ethnic Awa people, a group said to be threatened with extinction.

“The Brazilian state must accomplish this task with the utmost determination and we are working hard on it,” Maria do Rosario, the minister in charge of human rights, told foreign reporters.

A Brazilian government survey estimates there could be “up to 4,500 invaders, ranchers, loggers and settlers” occupying just one of the four territories inhabited by the Awa, whose total population stands at no more than 450.

Last month, Survival International, a leading advocate for the rights of tribal people worldwide, launched a major campaign spearheaded by Britain’s Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth to focus attention on the plight of the Awa, saying they were threatened with “genocide” and “extinction.”

According to Survival, there are roughly 360 Awa who have been contacted by outsiders, many of them survivors of massacres, along with another 100 believed to be hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest.

Do Rosario said Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) was conducting surveillance operations on lands traditionally occupied by the Awa.

“There are joint operations with the police to protect the rights of these people,” she said.

FUNAI estimates that there are 77 isolated indigenous tribes scattered across the Amazon rainforest. Only 30 such groups have been located.

Indigenous peoples represent less than one percent of Brazil’s 192 million people and occupy 12 percent of the national territory, mainly in the Amazon region.

Source: Bangkok Post

GEF CEO Underscores Importance of Working With Indigenous Peoples To Benefit Global Environment

Speech at Montpelier, France, conference details GEF initiatives with local communities, indigenous groups

MONTPELLIER, France, May 21, 2012  – Global Environment Facility CEO Monique Barbut today said that success in initiatives to improve the global environment depends on consistently involving local communities and particularly indigenous groups in environmental strategies and projects.

Speaking at the Congress of the International Society of Ethnobiology, Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the world’s largest public funder of projects to benefit the global environment, presented the policy initiatives being implemented by the GEF in connection with indigenous groups.

“The way we work with indigenous people, not only in the projects we finance, but also in  the governance of our institution, reflects my determination that the global environmental movement recognize the importance of this issue,” said Barbut, who is completing her second term as GEF CEO. “We do this not because it was fashionable or trendy, or simply to make ourselves feel good. We do it most of all because it made good sense.”

Working with local communities, including indigenous peoples, is not only the most effective approach to environmental projects, it is also the most cost-effective, Barbut said. Projects that follow this philosophy benefit greatly from local knowledge and techniques for working with natural resources and the environment of a given region or locality.

“Protecting local and ancestral knowledge is thus not only a way for us to fulfill our current mission and protect the environment, but also to preserve options and solutions for the future,” Barbut said.  “I am convinced that the policy that we have implemented to strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples has permanently enriched the GEF and enhanced its standing.”

The GEF has emphasized the importance of indigenous peoples throughout Barbut’s two terms in office, she said, as an integral part of efforts to improve the GEF’s performance, its management, and its visibility. Making decisions more inclusive contributes to a better sense of ownership of the GEF in the beneficiary countries. Barbut said that more indigenous groups are now participating in the network of NGOs affiliated with the GEF than ever before. This progress stems not only from a preferred approach to GEF projects but also from specific and resolute policies designed to ensure engagement with indigenous peoples and respect for their rights.

Barbut described a 12-year GEF-financed program in Brazil that involves extensive work with local communities and indigenous peoples to develop sustainable forestry practices. The initiatives, financed with a $18 million GEF grant and $30 million in cofinancing, has led to the creation of 25 million hectares of protected areas, an area the size of Great Britain. The project is helping preserve the biodiversity of the world’s largest rain forest and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nearly half of the “Sustainable Development Reserves” involved in the project are being managed by local and indigenous peoples.

For more information on GEF programs relating to indigenous peoples, see the Council Document.

About the Global Environment Facility
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $10.5 billion in grants and leveraging $51 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 168 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 14,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $634 million.
About this unconventional Congress
For two decades, the International Society of Ethnobiology (ISE) has actively promoted and supported the inextricable linkages between biological and cultural diversity and the vital role of Indigenous and local peoples in stewardship of biological diversity and cultural heritage, which includes recognition of land and resource rights, as well as rights and responsibilities over tangible and intangible cultural and intellectual properties. The ISE is committed to understanding the complex relationships which exist between human societies and their environments. A core value of the ISE is the recognition of Indigenous peoples as critical players in the conservation of biological, cultural and linguistic diversity.

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer. 



~ by FSVSF Admin on 22 May, 2012.

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