Demarcating indigenous lands is an important step to protect traditional peoples and fight the climate crisis
28 abril 2023
WWF-Brazil celebrates the resumption of these two important collegiate bodiesBy WWF-Brazil
The announcement by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva about the homologation of six indigenous lands in the country – the first since 2018 – is cause for celebration. The decrees were signed this Friday (28) during the ATL (Free Land Camp, in Portuguese) 2023, in Brasilia, and mark an important step towards nature conservation, facing the climate crisis and social justice in Brazil.
In addition to the approval of these six territories, it was announced the resumption of operations of the National Council for Indigenous Policy (CNPI, in Portuguese) – a collegiate body with the participation of the indigenous movement whose goal is to assess and propose improvements in public policies aimed at indigenous peoples –, and of the Management Committee of the National Policy for Territorial and Environmental Management of Indigenous Lands (PNGATI, in Portuguese), which was paralysed since 2017.
WWF-Brazil celebrates the resumption of these two important collegiate bodies, for this is the fulfilment of an electoral campaign pledge to once again open the government to the participation of organised civil society, a fundamental step to improve public policies. PNGATI is a policy of the utmost importance for Brazil, given that indigenous territories protect 13% of the national territory (about 25% of the Amazon) and are, therefore, central in the fight against climate change and to the conservation of biodiversity. It will not be possible to keep these territories protected if indigenous communities are unable to develop their life plans, if they cannot live well in these places.
After years of escalating attacks on indigenous communities, the creation on January 1st of the new Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, chaired by Sônia Guajajara, and now the demarcation of six indigenous lands are effective actions to ensure the rights of these peoples and for the maintenance of Brazilian democracy. And its effects are positive for everyone.
Studies show that demarcated and duly protected indigenous territories are synonymous with standing forests and a drop in deforestation. The ways of life of communities and their ancestral knowledge contribute to the conservation of biomes, being fundamental to stop the progress of climate change. The demarcation of these territories, therefore, is a key element in the fight against global warming.
WWF-Brazil recognises that, after years of dismantling of the indigenous policy, these are very important initial steps, but it is aware that there are still many indigenous territories to be demarcated and protected. The health of Brazil and the planet depend on indigenous territories, essential for a future with socio-environmental justice.