Indigenous peoples are agents of change to reach sustainable development

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BY ELLISON VAHI

INDIGENOUS Peoples and their traditional knowledge and practices are essential to reaching the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and to climate change mitigation.

This was in relation to the International Labour Organization (ILO), as the United Nations specialized agency dedicates to the rights of workers, employment opportunities, and social justice.

In accordance to the 2016 report, it shows that 370 million peoples all over the world have been identified as Indigenous or Tribal Peoples.

This 5 percent of the world’s population is estimated to care for 22 percent of the world’s surface and protect 80 percent of the world’s remaining biodiversity.

It shows that, despite their invaluable role in sustainable development and protecting the environment, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples remain widely disadvantaged, making up 15 percent of the world’s poor.

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples are commonly denied access to a full education, employment, and social mobility due to discrimination and unequal resource distribution.

Social, cultural, economic, and political differences have also drawn a line between Indigenous Peoples and governments, leaving Indigenous Peoples out of important decision making processes.

Additionally, Indigenous and communities in states of poverty are excessively affected by climate change.

According to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in July 2018, it shows that Indigenous Peoples are among the first to experience the direct consequences of climate change, due to their dependence on and relationship to the environment and its resources.

This occurs even though Indigenous communities are some of the most involved in the mitigation of climate change and in protecting the environment.

It also shows that deforestation on land managed by Indigenous Peoples with protective rights over their lands was low while deforestation on unprotected land has more percentage.

In relation to, some recent examples of natural disasters has highlight the drastic effects of climate change on Indigenous communities, such as landslides, droughts, tsunamis, cyclone and earthquakes that hamper the traditional driving practices of Indigenous Tribes.

Yet, Indigenous Peoples who advocate for environmental conservation and against extractive projects that contribute to climate change also face threats, criminalization, violent attacks, and even death.

These has let the ILO to echoed the importance of Indigenous in environmental conservation and in reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, echoing a discussion panel of Indigenous representatives at a High Level Political Forum on Indigenous Issues.

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