Participants in Roundtable on “Territory, Food Sovereignty and Climate Change” expressed disapproval for Governments that are bent on Capitalism of Indigenous Lands: REDD+ initiative Applauded

news-20131120-1The Guiana Shield Countries were among many other countries who participated in a roundtable on “Territory, Food Sovereignty and Climate Change” at the Fifth Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas on November 14, 2013 in Resguardo Indígena de la María, Colombia.

More than sixty persons from Guyana, Suriname, Matavén-Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Arizona-USA and Chile gathered for more than two hours to discuss the topic which sparkled high interaction and participation.

The roundtable commenced with two keynote speakers which set the tone for the many discussions and recommendations which followed.

Participants passionately expressed their disapproval for Governments who demand and control their lands and use it for economic gains by giving them to transnational companies who destroy the forest which should be conserved.

They noted that governments are more concerned with food security rather than food sovereignty. The very vocal participants explained that food security is just ensuring that there is enough food while food sovereignty is ensuring there is healthy food from pure lands.

A participant from the Matavén Forest, Colombia then enlightened the audience on steps that they can collectively take to govern their own territory and keep out governments’ interference. She explained that the ACATASIMA Organization from the Matavén Forest has recorded tremendous success in the governance of their territory and natural resources with the help of the Guiana Shield Facility.

Moreover, the group contended that the soil is their “Mother” and it should not be contaminated with fertilizers and toxics. The predominantly indigenous group argued that when the governments approve mining in those areas, it contaminates the soil and the food produced there it’s not good for human consumption.

They further argue that with climate change taking the front burner and center of discussion at most National fora, it should be everyone’s interest to conserve biodiversity and let it be used as a model for sustainable development. Common sentiments were expressed that the REDD+ initiative is a great step towards curbing the potentially dreaded situation.

In addition, the COBRA Project from Guyana (projectcobra.org) made a brief presentation on “community owned solutions and best practices” which were documented in Guyana by indigeneous communities as a model for other communities to preserve their lands and biodiversity.

The roundtable concluded with a call to recover and reassess territories, and to value the species of indigenous communities. The participants strongly suggested that a strategy be formulated to create awareness among young people about the importance of conservation of biodiversity and the right to govern their lands.

Moreover, the participants recommended that everyone should Reject the growing of transgenic foods in the lands by International companies and insist on Self governance of lands and territories.

These recommendations will form part of a combined declaration that will be produced following the summit.
The Guiana Shield Facility has partnered with the Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia (ONIC), ACATISEMA and the COBRA Project to participate in the V Continental Summit of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.