Global Landscapes Forum, Bonn 2019 – More rights for indigenous peoples!

Landscape in Brazil with smallholders farm; Photo: Kate Evans/CIFOR

Landscape in Brazil with smallholders farm; Photo: Kate Evans/CIFOR

“We fight for soil, land, food, trees, water and birds. We fight for our lives.” Gregorio Mirabal, Coordinator of the Umbrella Association of the Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) speaking during this year’s Global Landscapes Forum (GLF), impressed the participants with his sincerity.

The event took place on 22 and 23 June at the Maritim Hotel in Bonn, bringing together more than 600 participants from 83 countries, more than 14,000 viewers took part in the programme online and 14 million people were informed about the content and results of the Forum through social media channels such as Twitter.

Organised by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the GLF is the largest knowledge-based platform for sustainable land use. Since 2013, more than 3,900 organisations and around 150,000 people have participated personally and online in the Forum’s events.

This year, Bonn focused on the importance of rights of indigenous peoples as a contribution to the fight against climate change. According to Amnesty International, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous persons all over the world, who belong to some 5,000 different indigenous peoples. They live in over 70 countries and account for about 4% of the world’s population. The indigenous peoples have valuable traditional knowledge about the landscapes of their homelands and it is more important than ever to involve them in decision-making processes regarding the use and protection of natural resources.

The Global Landscapes Forum Bonn 2019 Plenary: Voices of the Landscape; Photo: Pilar Valbuena/GLF

On both days of the Forum, the significance of rights was examined from various perspectives. Representatives from the fields of finance, research, advertising, journalism, arts, lobbying, law, youth, the LGBTQ community and numerous indigenous communities from around the world exchanged views on these issues during several interactive plenary sessions, workshops and side events, sharing stories of challenges and threats faced by indigenous communities and discussing how to safeguard the rights of affected people in the future.

Projects supported by IKI also actively contributed to events at the GLF. For example, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH was involved in the organisation and implementation of the “Ecosystem-based adaptation and wildlife conservation in mountain landscapes” interactive session, and gave the participants insights into the work of the IKI Regional Project, “Ecosystem-based Adaptation to Climate Change in High Mountain Regions of Central Asia“. In Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the IKI project cooperates closely with local population groups to restore forest areas and reduce the pressure of use on the ecosystems. Within the framework of this project, 75 hectares have already been reforested and rehabilitated in Tajikistan.

Christiane Paulus, BMU, speaks at the GLF Bonn 2019 Plenary: Decade on Ecosystem Restoration; Photo: Pilar Valbuena/GLF“What will restore ecosystems?” Jeffrey Campbell, manager of the FAO’s Forest and Farm Facility, asked the audience in his speech on Sunday. “The Restoration of Rights!”, he added. Christiane Paulus, Head of the “Nature Conservation and Sustainable Use of Nature” department in the Ministry of the Environment, also emphasised the importance of the project: “After a decade of destruction, we need a decade of restoration.”

The next Global Landscapes Forum events will take place on 28 September in New York City, from 29 to 30 October in Accra, from 28 to 30 November in Luxembourg and 8 December in Santiago de Chile.