MARSEIL, France, Sep 15 (IPS) – One of the most hotly debated issues at the recently concluded IUCN conference in Marseille was the designation of 30 percent of the planet’s land and water surface as protected areas by 2030.
This alleged debate is expected to escalate at the UN Biodiversity Conference in China next April. Indigenous groups say that conservation should recognize their rights to land, territories, coastal seas, and natural resources. Some activists argue that the “fortress preservation” was nothing more than colonialism in another guise.
The world’s failure to achieve any of the global goals to protect, conserve and restore nature by 2020 was a realistic prospect. In Kunming, China, 190 governments will meet in April 2022 after a hypothetical coordination in October this year, to finalize the UN Global Biodiversity Framework Post-2020.
The draft framework released in July aims to create a ‘world in harmony with nature’ by 2050 by protecting at least 30% of the planet and putting at least 20% under restoration by 2030.
Marseille statementThe Final Communiqué of the World Conservation Conference in Marseille from 4-10 September 2021, gives a greater vision for indigenous peoples by “committing to an ambitious, interconnected and effective site-based conservation network that represents all areas of importance to biodiversity and ecosystem services. Such a network must recognize the roles and guardianship of indigenous people and local communities.”
“Congress appeals to governments to set ambitious targets for protected areas and other area-based conservation actions by calling for at least 30% of the planet to be protected by 2030. Targets should be based on the latest science and include rights — including consent — as stipulated In the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources must strengthen the agency of indigenous peoples and local communities,” the statement urges.
The IUCN currently has 1,500 members and includes 91 countries, 212 government agencies, 1,213 NGOs, 23 indigenous peoples’ organizations, and 52 affiliate members.
Indigenous peoples demand above all “the secure recognition and respect for the collective rights of indigenous peoples and the management of lands, territories, waters, coastal seas and natural resources”.
The strong demand for this came from the members of the indigenous peoples organization of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) spread on six continents who came together and developed “A global agenda for indigenous peoplesAnd it was presented at their own summit – the first event of its kind at any IUCN World Conservation Conference.
They aimed to unite indigenous voices from around the world to raise awareness that “enhanced measures” are needed to protect the rights of indigenous peoples and their roles as guardians of nature.
Other activists take a harder line.
“The 30×30 plan is nothing but a massive land grab,” Sophie Gregg, Senior Research and Advocacy Officer Survival International By phone from the non-profit organization’s headquarters in London.
“It is nothing more than a sound bite, green lies. History has shown that promises are made but gradually, the forest dwellers have become impossible to live until they are finally driven out of the homes of their generations over centuries. They were driven out for what? For animals and tourists. We see no real signs That this will change.”
“Fortress preservation violates human rights and fails to protect nature.” David R. Boyd, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said in his August policy brief that the devastating effects of maintaining forts on indigenous peoples, local communities, peasants, rural women and youth The countryside had generated limited gains for nature before the IUCN conference.
Ending the current biodiversity crisis will require a “transformative approach” to what conservation entails, who qualifies to be a conservation advocate, and how conservation efforts are designed and implemented, Boyd said.
Studies have shown that indigenous peoples, who make up only 5% of the world’s population, contribute significantly to their ecological diversity as more than 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity is found within their lands.
The debate on this issue has been global. in a Online forum Concurrent with, but separate from, the IUCN Indigenous Peoples Summit, Indigenous women, many of whom are from Southeast Asia, emphasized that “it is not enough for outsiders to observe indigenous practices and then try to re-apply them in other contexts”.
The original voices should be “in the center of the conversation, not on the sidelines”.
Traditional environmental knowledge is not just a theoretical concept. They said it is “local science,” applied knowledge that indigenous peoples have accumulated over thousands of years and is most effective for addressing climate change and biodiversity challenges because it is based on the acceptance that “all living things are interconnected.”
The Indigenous Peoples Agenda in Marseille also invites the global community – from states to the private sector, the conservation community to NGOs, conservation funding and academia – to engage in specific joint efforts with them, such as “participating in the design of initiatives and collaborating on investment opportunities.”
“Our global goals to protect the Earth and conserve biodiversity cannot succeed without the leadership, support and partnership of indigenous peoples,” IUCN Director General Bruno Oberle said at the start of the conference.
“So is the investment in this doubling of protected areas, or at least some of the money, going directly to the indigenous people?” asked the protesters at the “Decolonization” conference.
“Not likely, castle preservation is the racist and colonial model of conservation promoted by governments, corporations, and large conservation NGOs,” said Survival’s Greg.
A 30 x 30 plan seems like a simple and painless process, but it is not so for Indigenous communities. It is simply a plan that enables you in the global north to continue burning fossil fuels and consuming unsustainably.”
The natives were clear in their demands. Their agenda and action plan requires the following: “As indigenous peoples around the world, we advocate for a just environment for recognition of indigenous peoples to thrive as leaders, innovators, and major contributors to nature conservation.”
It remains to be seen to what extent the words and promises of international politics and funding bodies are translated into action on this contentious and crucial issue in 2022.
© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service