The Guardians of the Forest arrived yesterday in Paris, where they held meetings with Nicolas Hulot, Minister of Ecological Transition and Inclusion of the French Government, and Carole Bonnard, Vice-President of the French National Assembly.
The leadership of Emmanuel Macron’s administration on projects that support the goals set out in the Paris Agreement is the main reason why this city is part of the tour that indigenous and community leaders from Mesoamerica, Amazonia and Indonesia are leading in Europe.
After the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement in June of this year, the French Minister of the Environment, Nicolas Hulot, announced a five-year plan to reduce emissions in his country. The French government’s support for initiatives, programs and strategies to achieve the planet’s climate balance makes it a natural ally for indigenous peoples and local communities, who are the main defenders of forests and the environment.
An important issue addressed during the meeting was the North Gold mining megaproject, which threatens the peoples of French Guiana. Joselyn Roger Therese, leader of the Karina people and delegate of the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA) expressed to Minister Hulot the total opposition of the indigenous organizations to the project, which is currently in its exploratory phase. Both parties agreed on the environmental and economic unfeasibility that this mining project presents.
Sonia Guajajara, delegate of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), who also participated in the meeting, highlighted the need to recognize the crime of ecocide under international law, to properly punish projects that destroy natural life.
The meeting concluded with plans for the coordination of a world-wide meeting of indigenous peoples, based in France and to be held in 2019, to lead the process of real recognition of indigenous rights.
Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage at least 24% of the total carbon stored in the soil in the world’s tropical forests
Olo Villaláz, representative of the Gunayala people (Panama) who participated in the meeting with Carole Bonnard, vice president of the French National Assembly, commented that “with the leadership of the French government on climate issues, it is very important that alliances be made with indigenous territorial leaders, since the goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be met without the contributions of forest peoples”.
Guardians of the Forest met Carole Bonnard, videPresident of the French National Assembly. París, France. October 26, 2017