Mark your calendar - Global Canoe in Cancun, México (December 11th)
Indigenous peoples are the guardians of our rainforests, yet they are not often included as decision-makers to help develop the strategies, public policies, and programs that ensure the defense, conservation, and protection of rainforests and biodiversity. Global Canoe* is a series of political actions developed by indigenous peoples organizations to attract the attention of the United Nations, media, and governments to demand the inclusion of indigenous peoples leaders as decision-makers in climate change agreements. Global Canoe's actions use canoes as symbols of communication to cut through river and media channels in order to send four clear messages:
Include indigenous people in decision making that affects their lives (free, prior, and informed consent);
Recognize the land titling of indigenous territories;
Direct access to finances for defenders of the forests; and
Stop murdering and persecuting indigenous leaders.
In May 2016, indigenous peoples leaders from Indonesia, Mesoamerica, and South and North America met in New York City as over 160 heads of state signed the the Paris Agreement at the United Nations. This agreement was just the first step towards curbing climate change, but it was just the tip of the iceberg of what must be done. While in New York, a Global Canoe action was organized on the East River just in front of the UN. In the video above, Mina Susana Setra, Deputy Secretary General of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelagos (AMAN) explained why the action in May had been planned: "We come together here, in front of the UN, to tell them about our rights. We're watching them. We're monitoring them. We want them to know that anything they sign today won't succeed without the involvement of indigenous people."
On December 11th in Cancun, Mexico, the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB) and the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) are partnering with Greenpeace México for the next Global Canoe action. which will occur during the Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP13) to the Convention on Biological Diversity. If you plan on being in Cancun during the conference, we urge you to consider supporting (and joining, if you're a paddler!) indigenous peoples and local communities as they continue to fight to protect our rainforests and natural resources.
Please share the above video widely. Not only will it give you a better sense of what the guardians of our tropical forests are fighting for, but it will give you a a better understanding of how you might get involved.
*The Global Canoe video above, produced by AMPB and COICA, tells the story of the important Global Canoe political action in May, 2016. Advice Project Media's founder, Melissa Banigan, helped to organize the action, and she was the production manager for the video. In addition to a wonderful group of other talented filmmakers and driven activists, two of our Advice Project Media filmmaking and social media wizards, Courtney Webster and Mon Iker, contributed footage. It was a privilege to be involved.