12 August 2021 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights

NPWJ press release

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
No Peace Without Justice, 09 Aug 2021

Today, we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People as an opportunity to honour indigenous peoples as holders of unique cultures, traditions, languages and knowledge systems. In line with this year’s theme, NPWJ and the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation highlight the importance of creating a new social contract where the perspectives and voices of indigenous peoples are listened to and amplified, where their needs are prioritised and their preferences respected.



In Peru, a corrupt land-titling scheme sees forests sold off as farms
Mongabay, 12 Aug 2021

In September 2015, officials from the agriculture agency of Peru’s Ucayali department arrived in the district of Masisea with one goal: to create a rural land registry in a forested area along the edge of the Masisea-Imiría Highway, a road that runs through a section of the Peruvian Amazon. That was the beginning of an intricate system of irregularly ceding public and Indigenous lands that later ended up in the hands of a Mennonite colony in Ucayali department.


EU urges all major economies to raise climate goals by November summit
Reuters, 12 Aug 2021

The European Union's top diplomat on Thursday called on the world's biggest economies to set tougher climate targets - including a commitment to eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions - in time for a global climate summit in November. At the start of the week, a U.N. report laid bare the seriousness of global warming, which is dangerously close to exceeding the limits countries agreed were needed to prevent the most severe consequences of climate change.


Global climate objectives fall short without nuclear power in the mix: UNECE
UN News, 11 Aug 2021

Only weeks before world leaders gather in Glasgow to hammer out plans to slow climate change, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has released a document arguing that nuclear power can help deliver on the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. “Nuclear power is an important source of low-carbon electricity and heat that can contribute to attaining carbon neutrality and hence help to mitigate climate change,” UNECE Executive Secretary Olga Algayerova said.


On the Colombian plains, a leader stands up for her people against land theft
Mongabay, 11 Aug 2021

Ana Villa has traveled dozens of times on the highways of Vichada department in eastern Colombia, in service to her rural community. These trips can take up to 18 hours and cross an extensive savanna that’s the ancestral home of Indigenous communities and today hosts landless peasant farmers, or campesinos, who arrived in the area several decades ago. More recent arrivals, coming in the past 15 years, include agribusinesses, agroforestry and oil companies. Villa defines herself as a “woman of character,” and her persistence has been key when dealing with land rights and environmental issues on behalf of her people in the municipality of Cumaribo.


Climate crisis ‘unequivocally’ caused by human activities, says IPCC report
The Guardian, 09 Aug 2021

“​​It is unequivocal.” Those stark three words are the first in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s new report. The climate crisis is unequivocally caused by human activities and is unequivocally affecting every corner of the planet’s land, air and sea already. The report, produced by hundreds of the world’s top scientists and signed off by all the world’s governments, concludes that it could get far worse if the slim chance remaining to avert heating above 1.5C is not immediately grasped.


Supply chain laws to fight deforestation must back Indigenous rights
Thomson Reuters Foundation, 09 Aug 2021

Efforts to save the world’s forests could soon get a boost from proposed laws in the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States to restrict the import of agricultural commodities linked to deforestation. These three markets’ consumption of such products is a driver of a quarter of all deforestation linked to international trade. Protecting carbon sinks—ecosystems like forests that absorb and store planet-warming gases—is crucial to address the climate crisis, so this is welcome news. But these proposed laws would be more effective if they also protected the rights of Indigenous peoples, who have proven to be among the most reliable forest custodians.


Climate change: Low-income countries 'can't keep up' with impacts
BBC, 08 Aug 2021

Low-income countries are struggling to protect themselves against climate change, officials and experts have told the BBC. Organisations representing 90 countries say that their plans to prevent damage have already been outpaced by climate-induced disasters, which are intensifying and happening more regularly.  The UN says the number of developing countries with climate adaptation plans has increased. But it stresses that there's limited evidence these plans have reduced any risks.  "We need to adapt our plans to the worsening climate crisis. Our existing plans are not enough to protect our people," says Sonam Wangdi, chair of the UN's Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group on climate change.