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“We don’t want just to listen. We want to be part of COP30”, say Indigenous leaders

“We want to be at the center of this climate summit. In 2025, the world will be talking about the COP hosted in the Brazilian Amazon. However, we must ask: will the government guarantee support and opportunities for the participation of Indigenous peoples, including financial resources?”, says Indigenous leader Auricélia Arapiuns, the coordinator of Tapajós and Arapiuns Indigenous Council (Cita, in Portuguese) about the participation of Indigenous peoples at COP30. In 2022, Brazil had a disputed presidential election between the two main candidates. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva won and, at the end of that same year, he flew to his first meeting abroad after the elections: the final destination was Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, where the United Nations Climate Conference would take place. Everybody’s eyes were on COP27 when it was announced that Brazil was running to host the 30th UN Conference on Climate Change (COP30), in 2025, to be held in Belém, Pará’s capital city. On June 17, in a ceremony with Pará’s governor Helder Barbalho, President Lula officially announced that the Amazon will host the climate summit for the first time. The Amazon is the home of about 180 Indigenous peoples, 144 of whom live voluntarily isolated. The Indigenous territories of the Amazon have about 110 million hectares and 51.25% of Brazil’s Indigenous population lives there (867,900 people), according to 2022 IBGE data. Native peoples have always been at COPs, but not in official debates and meetings. In 2022, an entourage of 40 Indigenous leaders of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab, in Portuguese) was in Egypt in spaces designated for civil society. In these areas, they organized discussions and manifestos sharing proposals to face climate change with the direct participation of Indigenous peoples. Since the announcement of COP30 in Brazil, the coordinator of Coiab, Toya Manchineri, has highlighted that measures to include Indigenous participation in the world’s most important event on climate change are being taken. “Our actions started with a meeting in Brasília this year, where we built a proposal about the kind of Amazon we wish for together with Indigenous representatives from the Amazon basin. Soon after that, we organized an Indigenous summit to strengthen our proposals, which are the joint debate with governments to fight climate change, defend Indigenous lands and also discuss an economy model that meets our ways of living”, she adds. Even with the participation of Indigenous movements in events before COP30, such as the Amazon Summit, there are huge challenges for this population to be in these spaces, mainly due to logistical and geographical difficulties. In many cases, access is only possible through boats, which use costly fuel. Indigenous leader Auricélia Arapiuns, Cita’s coordinator, from Pará state, has been demanding the participation of Indigenous peoples in building COP30 and has concerns regarding the lack of support by the government for the Amazonian population to organize events that debate proposals about the Amazon. She says that Indigenous peoples have to be the main players in COP30 and mentions the crucial role they have in protecting their lands, which are fundamental to preserving the world’s largest rainforest. However, due to logistical obstacles, she fears these people will not be able to participate in the most important global event on climate change. “Transporting Indigenous leaders from their territories to attend these events is very costly. The Amazon people talk all around the world is diverse. We have regions quite distant from each other. Therefore, resources are necessary to guarantee the participation of these populations. What happened recently regarding the Amazonian Talks was a total lack of support for our people by the government of Pará state and also from other state governments. I am afraid it will happen again during COP30”, Auricélia explained. Despite countries following the developments for COP in the Amazon, the people living there know little about the event. That is why bringing information to these communities is crucial. However, the difficulties are enormous since these areas have precarious access to information. Juliana Baré, an Indigenous communicator from the Wayuri from the Negro River network, says the biggest challenge is to bring information to the 750 communities that live on Indigenous territories, many of which only have access to radio stations. “Internet access in the Amazon is precarious, but little by little, we are changing it. Some communities already have an internet connection, so we are using it as a tool to bring information to Indigenous populations”, says Juliana. Another approach communicators from the Wayuri network developed was “Papo de Maloca” (“maloca” is a popular name in Brazil for housing built by Indigenous peoples), a radio program broadcast from the town of São Miguel da Cachoeira. The collective invites experts to explain subjects such as REDD+, an initiative by the United Nations to reward developing countries that get positive results in recovering and protecting their forests; carbon credit, a way to compensate countries that stop emitting a certain amount of carbon; and climate change. “We are bringing experts to talk about these subjects to the communities. People are arriving there [in the Amazon], companies are arriving there and harassing Indigenous communities. That is concerning,” Juliana explains. Despite talks about the Conference in the media, Juliana says this debate does not involve Indigenous communicators. “We hear a lot of talk about climate change here. However, we don’t see the debate about COP30 including [Indigenous] communicators. We haven’t talked much about it because we still don’t understand how it will work in Brazil. That is why we haven’t talked to Indigenous leaders. They have an idea of what the Conference is about and what these agreements are. Nevertheless, we believe we need to have more training so that we can understand and share information with the communities”, she concluded. The 30th UN Conference on Climate Change, to be held in the Amazon, is on its way to becoming a reality, but it is still necessary to know how will be the participation of the Indigenous peoples who live in the Amazon. These are the people who have been fighting for decades against mining, oil exploration, illegal loggers, the contamination of rivers and poverty. That is why the Brazilian government should adopt planning measures and a budget to include Indigenous peoples in the official debates and the construction of the Conference. There is no way to talk about the Amazon without talking about the population that lives there, and it is only fair that they are at the center of this world event. Edited by: Nadini Lopes e Thalita Pires

Brasil de Fato é um site de notícias e uma agência de rádio brasileira, que também possui jornais regionais no Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraná e Pernambuco.[1] Possui uma rede nacional...