By Chris Lang
Before the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, NGOs are holding an Alternative Congress under the slogan, “Our Land, Our Nature”. The Alternative Congress will feature Indigenous activists, marginalised local leaders, and academics and scientists and will take place on 2-3 September 2021, Coco Velten, 16 rue Bernard du Bois, Marseille.
Registration (online or in person) is available at the “Our Land, Our Nature” website. The Alternative Congress is supported by by Minority Rights Group, Rainforest Foundation UK, and Survival International, among others:
One of the focusses of the Alternative Congress is “30×30”, the proposal to make 30% of the planet “Protected Areas”. This proposal is included in the Convention on Biological Diversity’s first draft of the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, and will be discussed during the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
In a press statement about the Alternative Congress, Joe Eisen, Executive Director of Rainforest Foundation UK, says,
“The current 30×30 plan and other false solutions to the climate and biodiversity crises such as nature-based solutions (NBS) and carbon offsetting schemes, fail to address the underlying causes of environmental destruction while penalising those least responsible for the climate and biodiversity crises. Without urgent action, these plans are likely to harm hundreds of millions more people, including Indigenous Peoples whose voices have been silenced by the conservation industry.”
Here’s the press release about the Alternative Congress, from the “Our Land, Our Nature” website:
First international counter-conference on conservation will denounce “world’s biggest land grab”
July 7, 2021
‘Our Land, Our Nature’. The conservation industry has a dark side rooted in racism and colonialism that destroys nature and people.
© Survival International
The world’s first major international congress on decolonizing conservation, “Our Land, Our Nature”, will take place in Marseille, France, on September 2, 2021, immediately before the IUCN World Conservation Congress in the same city.
At this congress indigenous representatives and speakers from around 18 countries will share evidence and first-hand testimonies of conservation atrocities and land theft, and will present a model for an alternative conservation.
‘Our Land, Our Nature’, supported by Minority Rights Group, Rainforest Foundation UK, and Survival International among others, will highlight the global opposition to attempts by governments, industry and big conservation NGOs to turn 30 per cent of the globe into “Protected Areas” (“30×30”). It will also challenge the idea of “Nature-Based Solutions” (NBS) which put a price on the value of nature and offer a false solution to combating climate change.
These Khadia men were thrown off their land after it was turned into a tiger reserve. They lived for months under plastic sheets. Millions more face this fate if the 30% plan goes ahead.
© Survival International
Caroline Pearce, Executive Director of Survival International, said today: “The 30×30 and NBS narratives are a #BigGreenLie. Protected Areas do not provide a solution to the climate crisis, biodiversity loss or pandemics, and have already stripped millions of people of their sustainable livelihoods, lands and lives. The 30×30 project is likely to harm hundreds of millions more people, including indigenous peoples whose voices are silenced in the conservation industry.”
‘Our Land, Our Nature’ will break this silence and give a platform (in person or via video link) to local leaders, indigenous activists and other academics and scientists from every continent. It will challenge the World Conservation Congress to abandon 30×30 and NBS in favor of approaches that put people and social justice at the center of conservation.
“Our land, our nature” will be streamed worldwide. It will be opened by Fiore Longo, head of Survival’s conservation campaign, who said today: “The best guardians of the natural world are indigenous peoples, whose territories now contain some 80% of the world’s biodiversity. But they are the ones kicked off these lands by an increasingly militarized conservation industry, which partners with corporate interests who are sacking the Earth for profit. The 30% plan represents the biggest land grab in history, it is fundamentally colonialist and racist, and it must be stopped.”
“Our land, our nature”– September 2-3 2021 – Coco Velten, 16 rue Bernard du Bois, Marseille. Online participation will also be possible. Register here.
The congress will be followed by a press conference September 3 2021, 10:00-11:00. You can register for the press conference here.
Speakers will include:
• Mordecai Ogada, Kenyan conservationist and author of “The Big Conservation Lie”, who will explain the subterfuge behind so-called “community conservancies”.
• John Vidal, former environment editor at the Guardian, United Kingdom.
• Lottie Cunningham Wren, Indigenous human rights advocate from Nicaragua, and winner of the Right Livelihood award 2020.
• Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Tebtebba and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Philippines.
• Blaise Mudodosi Muhigwa, Congolese lawyer and environmental jurist.
• Dina Gilio-Whitaker, Lecturer of American Indian Studies at California State University San Marcos, and an independent educator in American Indian environmental policy and other issues.
• Archana Soreng, UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, India.