International trade and threats to indigenous peoples

IPAM, Sara Pereira in 26/02/2021

The last episode of the first season of Amazoniar, “Perspectives on the indigenous Amazon and international trade”, was aired on Thursday (25). The series is an initiative of the Institute for Environmental Research in the Amazon (IPAM) and is supported by the Observatory for Trade and Environment in the Amazon (OCAA). The first season of debates promotes dialogues focusing on the relationship between international trade and the biome

Senior researcher at IPAM, Paulo Moutinho started the debate by emphasizing the fundamental role of indigenous peoples, not only for Brazilians, but for the future of the planet. “Their way of life and their culture help to preserve biodiversity, help the climate regulation and offer viable solutions for the development of the Amazon, which depends a lot on their traditional and scientific knowledge,” he explained.
Give voice to those who understand
International trade agreements, when signed without the participation of native peoples, can pose serious threats to these populations. This is what Nilcélio Jiahui, from the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab), defends. “They expand agribusiness within our territories,” he denounced. “We have suffered a massacre of indigenous peoples because of the great deforestation that is happening in the Amazon”.
According to Jiahui, the damage is the entire society. “We are the populations that most preserve the forest, ensuring that this generation and future ones can breathe. We take care of the rivers so that they are not polluted by ore explorations from these big companies that only aim at development at any price. ”
Associate Professor at the University of Helsinki, Pirjo Virtanen stressed that the government, as a rule, has an obligation to consult indigenous peoples whenever an administrative measure, change of law or public policy may affect indigenous rights, their lands, their resources or ways of life.
Virtanen also explained that, before entering into any type of agreement, a long-term dialogue is needed, with the participation of the entire community. “The decision must be collective and it is necessary that it be made without haste, but with time to be able to understand all the impacts involved, whether negative or positive”, he clarified.
For Jiahui, however, there is still hope that society will see that it is possible to make agreements reconciled with the conservation of the environment and its biodiversity. “We do want economic development, as long as it respects all cultures and traditions of the original peoples,” he concluded.

The episode can be accessed in full on the IPAM YouTube channel.

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