Indigenous peoples denounce privatisation of nature at Rio 20+

June 24, 2012

Before the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, that took place in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil over June 20-22, the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life launched a declaration on June 15 opposing the summit's “solutions” to the environmental crisis.

A longer position paper by La Via Campesina, one part of the alliance that “brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world” and unites about 150 groups, can be found at

It explains why the movement attacks the concept pushed by powerful governments at the summit of a “green economy”. In particular, Via Campesina strongly opposes the carbon offset scheme, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Plus (REDD+), which it denounces as simply privatising forests while allowing rich nations to continue polluting.

The article below is reprinted from the alliance's website.

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Indigenous peoples of the world participating in Rio+20 denounce that the “Green Economy” and REDD+ privatise nature, sell the air we breathe and destroy the future.

Indigenous peoples' powerful message to the United Nations summit is eloquently conveyed in the No REDD+! in Rio+20 Declaration launched on June 15 by the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities on Climate Change against REDD and for Life.

The alliance warned that REDD+ constitutes a worldwide land grab and gigantic carbon offset scam.

REDD+ is an UN-promoted false solution to climate change and the pillar of the "green economy" it is promoting. Tom Goldtooth, director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, insisted that “REDD+ really means Reaping profits from Evictions, land grabs, Deforestation and Destruction of biodiversity.”

Just as Chief Seattle more than 100 years ago asked, “How can you sell the air?”, Marlon Santi of the Ecuadorian Amazon, condemning carbon trading and REDD+, asked: “How can you sell Mother Earth and Father Sky?”

But apparently someone is trying, as the recently inaugurated Bolsa Verde do Rio de Janeiro (BVRio), a Brazilian stockmarket for forest carbon credits, shows.

Berenice Sanchez of the Nahua People of Mexico said: “Not only does REDD+ corrupt the Sacred and fuel financial speculation, it also serves as greenwash for extractive [companies] like Shell and Rio Tinto.”

The alliance said REDD+ is a “new wave of colonialism”. From Peru to Papua New Guinea, carbon cowboys are running amok trying to rip off native communities and grab the forests of the world, 80% of which are found in indigenous peoples' lands and territories.

Santi said: “The REDD+ race to take over our land is on. Without our land, we are nothing. The 'green economy' and REDD+ could make money with genocide.”

Marife Macalanda of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network said: “The environmental crisis is getting worse because of capitalists' false solutions such as REDD+.

“The real solution to the climate crisis affecting the people of the world, especially Indigenous peoples, is to protect Mother Earth, uphold social justice and respect the Indigenous Peoples’ decisions and right to say no.”

The secretariat of the alliance said: “REDD+ threatens the very survival of Indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities.

“Indigenous peoples and local communities are now being subjected to forced displacement and human rights abuses including violations of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a result of the implementation of REDD+ type programs.”

The alliance's declaration stated: “REDD perverts the task of growing food into farming carbon” and could cause a global “counter-agrarian reform”.

“Don´t be fooled,” the alliance urged, the "green economy" and REDD+ constitute “a planet grab”. “Rio+20 is not an Earth Summit, it is the World Trade Organsation of Life.”

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