Amazon Watch at COP25: People-Powered – Not False – Solutions

Photo Credit: Diana Troya

Read a blog post about COP25 here.

Amazon Watch was at COP25 in Madrid alongside indigenous youth, women, and elected leaders to amplify the critical importance of supporting indigenous peoples' rights and territories and the protection of the Amazon as urgent and necessary solutions to address the climate crisis. We were there to call attention to the Amazon rainforest that is at a "tipping point" and to demand climate justice with our allies from the north and south. Together, we participated in public events across Madrid, including the Minga Indígena, the alternative indigenous peoples summit; the Social Summit for the Climate; and the historic March for the Climate on December 6, where indigenous peoples lead over 500,000 people through the streets of Madrid. Watch and share this beautiful video by Indigenous Climate Action.

In solidarity with the resistance and solutions of indigenous peoples, women on the front lines, and youth for climate justice, we supported and participated in the following:

  • Indigenous people's call to permanently protect the Amazon Sacred Headwaters and keep it free from fossil fuel and industrial extraction in collaboration with the Sacred Headwaters Initiative. Read and sign the declaration here. We supported and accompanied a delegation of indigenous leaders from Ecuador and Peru and released a damning report on the threats to the region at press events at COP25, including: Domingo Peas (Achuar from Ecuador), Sandra Tukup (Shuar from Ecuador), Delfina Catip (Awajun from Peru), Jorge Perez (Huitoto from Peru) and Wrays Perez (Wampis from Peru). The report exposes plans by Ecuador and Peru to expand fossil fuel production in frontier forest and pursue new exploration in remote, roadless rainforest titled to over twenty indigenous nationalities and highlights the climate implications of drilling for new unburnable carbon beneath standing forests essential for climate change mitigation, as well as impacts on indigenous rights, biodiversity, and threats to earth defenders.
  • The Minga Indígena, the alternative COP25: Indigenous Peoples Summit from December 6-11, which brought together indigenous peoples from around the world to share stories and experiences from their territories related to climate change, including indigenous youth and leaders from the Ecuadorian Amazon: Abigail Gualinga Santi and Mireya Gualinga Tapuy (Kichwa from Sarayaku); Gloria Ushigua (Sapara), Alicia Cahuiya (Waorani), Leo Cerda (Kichwa), Emilio Chong Paez (Embagao), and Jaime Vargas (Achuar). Amazon Watch is proud to have partnered with the Minga to support the participation of these leaders. Watch a video about the Minga here.
  • On December 10, the delegation of traditional indigenous leaders delivered a letter to the COP25 presidency (Spanish version here; Portuguese version here), which ended in a call to conscience and solidarity that said, "It is time to bring together all the efforts around the world and put aside all our differences, ethnic, religious, political, social in the name of our love for the life that we all are. Our future generations cannot inherit a sick planet, we must heal it. It is up to us."
  • Amplifying the voices of Women Defenders of the Amazon Against Extraction, including Patricia Gualinga, Nina Gualinga, and Helena Gualinga, Kichwa from Sarayaku, at various events inside and outside COP25. We collaborated with our friends and allies of WECAN and the Sustain US Indigenous Youth Delegation who showed true leadership in speaking truth to power by denouncing false solutions and the carbon market which exacerbates the climate crisis and violates human rights.
  • Highlighting the urgency of the threats to the Brazilian Amazon and the lives of the indigenous forest guardians who are defending the rainforest from the government, corporations, and the financiers who are complicit in its destruction. We collaborated with APIB (the Association of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples) in calling out the financiers of Amazon destruction in an ad published in the Financial Times; participated in side events, actions with APIB and Extinction Rebellion, and joined Brazilian congressional leaders – including Joenia Wapichana – in releasing the Declaration of Civil Society Organizations on the Crisis of Deforestation and Burning in the Brazilian Amazon.
  • Considering the state of emergency in the Amazon, we co-convened an Amazon Roundtable outside the COP25 to bring together indigenous people, youth, women, academics, policy-makers, and NGO leaders to seed a new alliance for the protection, defense, and restoration of the Amazon Basin. We agreed to convene an Amazon Summit in early 2020.

Watch this video of Helena Gualinga, an amazing 17-year-old indigenous activist from the Ecuadorian Amazon, calling out world leaders at COP25 for their criminal negligence.

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