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Indigenous People’s Communities Gather at COP26 to Express their Concerns of Climate Change

Indigenous people’s communities around the world continue to fight to be heard. At COP26 in Glasgow Scotland, these communities have gathered to share why they should be around the negotiating table and why they are the most impacted from the effects of climate change. We rejoin Hipolito Novelo for this story.

Hipolito Novelo, Love News:  The effects of climate change are far reaching. It affects everyone, some more than others and around the world indigenous people’s communities have been greatly impacted. Their livelihoods and way of life are under constant threat from the effects of climate change. Chanchana Chakma is from Bangladesh. She represents the Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network. She is here to have her voice heard at the International Indigenous People’s Forum on Climate Change. 

Chancahan Chakma, Bangladesh Indigenous Women Network: “It’s very important for us because we have to negotiate to protect our forests and our land because we are struggling for self determination and to protect the environment and our land rights. Land is our right that’s why it’s very important to attend here at COP26 for climate justice.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Chakma says that Bangladesh is exceptionally vulnerable to climate change. It’s low elevation, high population density and inadequate infrastructure all put the nation in dire risk.

Chancahan Chakma, Bangladesh Indigenous Women Network: “Especially vulnerable indigenous people they are because our government have been taking reforestation projects and that’s why indigenous people are inviting for that and another one is to make tourism. We are losing our land and that’s why the forest is going to be destroyed that’s’ why indigenous people they are losing their spiritual and culture and everything in their lives.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: Indigenous people’s communities from around the world like the Amazon and Chile are coming to this pavilion at COP26 with their traditional attire to have their voices heard and to share why they should be actively involved in the discussions and negotiations. Reynaldo Morales is here representing the Amazonian Indigenous Peoples from Peru.

Reynaldo Morales, Representative, Amazonian/ Indigenous Peoples of Peru: “We were lucky that we had a different legislation that recognized the rights of indigenous peoples since the 70s and gave them certain recognition in order to develop this care and management. However there is still peoples that are nonetheless under the recognition of their indigenous identity which is different from the Campecino identity, they have a lot of challenges one of them is their governance rights. In terms of configuring or obtaining the recognition of their autonomous governance and this is the most challenging issue that we have today. In order to face all the challenges of deforestation which is massive right now, mining issues, we have contamination of the rivers, gas exploitation all sorts of destructive operations that we have occurring in the Amazon plus illegal logging, plus narco traffic, plus invasion of some lands.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: In Belize indigenous people’s community has its own challenges. Belizean Monica Coc Magnusson is at COP26 with cultural survival. She says that indigenous peoples are taking the brunt of climate change effects.

Christina Coc Magnusson, Cultural Survival: “Indigenous communities are on the front lines of climate change. They are directly impacted by climate change. For instance in Belize our seasons are changing which affects our traditional planting seasons which then therefor would affect and raise food sovereignty issues because as you know that indigenous peoples and their livelihoods are directly connected and tied into the lands that they use and occupy so they’re directly impacted and affected by climate change. In fact I would go as far as to say that they are the most impacted because of our ways of being and our livelihoods are so interconnected with the nature that we find ourselves in that we live in.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love News: And living for indigenous peoples in Belize and around the world has gotten more difficult because of the effects of climate change.