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On Indigenous Peoples' Day at COP 28, another historic milestone in the fight for indigenous rights in Brazil

COP28, DUBAI / AGILITYPR.NEWS / December 06, 2023 / On December 5th, when COP28 had its Indigenous People’ Day, the Delegation of Brazil – under the leadership of the Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara – met for the first time during the conference with representatives of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and indigenous state entities that are present in Dubai. The fact that Minister Guajajara assumed the leadership of the Delegation three days ago represents a widening of the space held by indigenous peoples in multilateral debates on the impact of global climate.

Yesterday, Minister Guajajara participated in a march by Brazilian indigenous peoples and in a press conference of the Delegation of Brazil to COP28, along with the Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change, João Paulo Capobianco; Brazil's chief negotiator at COP28 and Secretary of Climate, Energy and Environment of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador André Corrêa do Lago; and with the National Secretary for Climate Change, Ana Toni.

The Minister spoke about the importance of understanding and recognizing the role of indigenous peoples and territories in the process of combating climate change, and of taking on the mission of addressing "global issues for the life of our planet and for the life of humanity."

"We are here bringing the voice of indigenous peoples so that we can also be included as part of the solution to contain this climate crisis," she said. "So, I am very proud to be here today as an indigenous person, as a Minister and also as the head of the Brazilian delegation."

The morning’s indigenous march culminated in the event "Indigenous Territories: security for the planet, and home for those who protect it", jointly convened by the Ministry of Indigenous People and the National Indigenous Peoples Foundation (FUNAI) at the Brazilian Pavilion, during which the minister pointed out the evolution of the indigenous presence at the COPs, highlighting that it was the Paris Agreement, in 2015, that recognized the knowledge of indigenous peoples as scientific knowledge. "We are much more present in this space. The Indigenous Caucus was created, and the COP today provides a platform for the global participation of indigenous peoples," she said. "And in 2023, we are here with the largest indigenous delegation ever in the history of the COP; the largest indigenous delegation for Brazil – and the largest indigenous delegation in the world," Minister Guajajara said, referring to the presence of more than 300 indigenous people from various countries. "This is an achievement: we have to celebrate it!", she said.

At the national launch event of the Caucus for the Planet, Minister Guajajara met with congresspersons Benedita da Silva (PT-RJ), Duda Salabert (PDT-MG), Dilvanda Faro (PT-PA), and Célia Xakriabá (PSOL-MG), responsible for the initiative to convene parliamentarians from around the world to engage in the fight against climate change. At the opening, the minister led an indigenous chant holding a maraca, and reiterated that, after thirteen years participating in COPs, she understood that more progress was still needed. "We need to move forward with practical guidelines, with national implementations to protect the lives of those who are protecting biodiversity," she said, pointing out that it will only be possible to guarantee the continuity of life on the planet if there is a change in the economic model in the world.

During the meeting with representatives of the Platform of Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples (LCIPP), including Anita Tzec, Director of the Program for Indigenous Peoples and Conservation of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Ramiro Batzin, Coordinator of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, Minister Sonia Guajajara was presented with a proposal for the next meeting of Latin America and the Caribbean platform, next year, to be held in Brazil. The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples received the proposal positively and indicated that it would consult with other relevant entities of the Brazilian government, such as the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment and Climate Change. The platform was established during COP21 and serves as a platform for the exchange of experiences and the sharing of the best social and environmental practices of indigenous peoples and traditional communities within the framework of the COPs.

During her participation in the event "Women implementing climate justice solutions to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis", which brought together indigenous women and representatives of global organizations to discuss strategies for climate justice, protection of forests and biodiversity, divestment from fossil fuels, and protection of women defenders of the environment, Minister Guajajara welcomed the fact that women are gaining more and more space in decision-making. She noted that they have taken on these responsibilities due to the role of caregivers that has historically been assigned to them; a role that is not natural, but cultural. "The condition of vulnerability to which we have historically been subjected has made us acquire a perspective of communion and not of competition, a perspective of survival in scarcity, a logic totally contrary to the predatory occupation of nature," said the Minister, stressing that the commitment to gender equality in the debates to implement climate justice solutions must be shared by all countries.

For any follow-up queries regarding Minister Sonia Guajajara’s participation in COP28, please contact the Press Office of the Ministry for the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (mpi.ascom@povosindigenas.gov.br).

Photo: Leo Otero/ASCOM MPI


Graham Meller

Press Contact


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