NPWJ celebrates the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

9 Aug, 2023 | Press Releases

Brussels-Rome, 9 August 2023

On this momentous occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, we celebrate and honour the invaluable contributions of indigenous communities worldwide. These communities have long been the guardians of diverse cultures, ancient traditions, languages, and profound knowledge systems that enrich our global heritage. However, as we come together in unity, we must also confront the grave challenges they face in their struggle for survival and the preservation of their ways of living. One of the most pressing threats that indigenous communities confront is the adverse impact of climate change, deforestation, pollution, destructive development, and the loss of biodiversity. These environmental challenges not only jeopardise their ancestral lands and sacred territories but also pose significant risks to their traditional knowledge and governance structures. A prime example of the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples’ health is evident in the carbon pacts that have led to unprecedented environmental crises. The consequences of these agreements have resulted in severe disruptions to the delicate balance of ecosystems, affecting the physical and mental well-being of indigenous communities.

In line with this year’s theme, NPWJ supported a historical event, which brought together over 700 indigenous leaders from diverse peoples within the Amazonia region. This gathering, convened by Chief Raoni of the Kayapó people, took place in the village of Piaraçu, in the Xingu River region, from July 24-28. The significance of this meeting was amplified by the fact that it marked the first time an Indigenous event had simultaneous translation in over ten different indigenous languages. The preparation for this landmark event began during a mission to Europe by two indigenous leaders on September 22, with NPWJ organizing visits to the European Parliament and United Nations Human Rights Council. The President of NPWJ actively participated in the gathering, alongside several authorities, including the Minister for Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, major NGOs, foundations, and both Brazilian and international press.

The gathering served as a powerful platform for indigenous leaders to voice their concerns, present their unique perspectives, and collectively seek solutions to the urgent challenges they face. The event was a moment of defiance against growing environmental threats and political challenges faced by indigenous communities in the Amazon rainforest. It was also an opportunity to highlight the urgent need for stronger indigenous voices and participation in critical meetings that will determine the fate of the rainforest, such as the upcoming Amazon summit and the UN Cop30 climate summit.

As we commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, NPWJ calls for solidarity and concrete actions to be taken in support of indigenous communities in their pursuit of a sustainable and just future. Together, we can strive for a world that respects and embraces the invaluable contributions of indigenous knowledge, while protecting their lands, cultures, and way of life for generations to come.