Pope Francis has said that Amazonian peoples are often forgotten and left without the prospect of a peaceful future because of the crisis in the Amazon forest. That crisis includes such issues as poaching on indigenous lands, pollution, the effects of hydroelectric dams and oil drilling, land grabbing, removal of ancient trees, and the murder of indigenous peoples who oppose exploitation of lands vital to themselves and the world.
The Pope further said we must stop viewing the Amazon as an “inexhaustible source of supplies for other countries without concern for its inhabitants.”
It is fitting then, that representatives from the Amazon will be among participants in the 18th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues taking place now through May 3 at the United Nations. The Vincentian Family has played a role in ensuring that Amazonian peoples have a voice in the Forum through facilitating their participation on at least three panels of speakers and engagement with several permanent missions (Brazil, Austria, Norway) and others involved in indigenous issues.
FORUM ADDRESSING TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE
The Forum’s theme is “Traditional Knowledge: Generation, Transmission, and Protection.” Over two weeks, indigenous peoples, nations, and other stakeholders are evaluating progress, examining challenges, highlighting good practices, and identifying potential policies and programs which would better protect and promote indigenous peoples’ rights to maintain, control, protect, and develop traditional knowledge.
The Forum appropriately opened on Monday April 22, which was Earth Day. As the world faces so many environmental and climate-related issues, indigenous peoples have many answers and know the importance of preserving a delicate balance between human activity and nature.
HOW IS THE VINCENTIAN FAMILY INVOLVED?