Belo Monte and Global Warming: Indigenous Peoples and Traditional Communities at COP 15

On December 11, at the Climate Conference in Copenhagen (COP 15), indigenous leaders and traditional communities spoke to the public regarding their impressions about the climate, current model of development and politics of contention on warming of the climate.


It was in a conference room, packed and tense that a group of five persons from the Amazon spoke to the public. They are leaders of their communities, participate actively in the capacitation of their communities and are spokespersons for them.


Ianukulá Kaiabi Suiá, of the Terra Indigena Xingu Association opened the press conference by saying, “for us the end could be much closer”. Ianu, as he is called, raised a practical and very immediate example: the Belo Monte. Regarding the implementation of the hydroelectric station he was emphatic: “We are not consulted, we have our rights ignored, we are, in practice, trampled.” Stating that implementation would cause “sacred territory to disappear”, Ianu summarized the message of the peoples of the Xingu “no to Belo Monte”.


The basic foundation of the messages is the same: The model of development at present does not function – attacks the environment and does not result in benefits for those who historically protect the forests of the world: the traditional communities and indigenous peoples.


The REDD mechanism was cited by all participants as something which could function, attending to international politics as well as local necessities. Sonia Guajajara – vice-coordinator of the COIAB (Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon), added that REDD, [if] planned from the ‘bottom – up’, would be able to guarantee their territories, the continuation of their cultures and valorization of their historical roles.


 Manuel Cunha, president of the National Council of Seringueiros (CNS), brought a clear message that the climate is no longer the same. That his father, an elderly illiterate seringueiro (rubber-tapper), could in the past predict the rains and thus his work days, and today, this being so remote, saddens the family. That the trees and their fruits are decompensated, out of season. This according to him hiders the work and even causes disagreements: birds and animals go to neighboring properties to feed.


Manuel then emphasizes: “We are not those who are removing the vegetal cover of the Planet, it is unjust that we pay this price”.


The event was organized by IPAM and can be seen online http://bit.ly/8aJrce.

Fonte: APIB
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