They demand that the States recognize the authority and competency of their communities in the handling of their lands, territories, and resources.
They pledge to be part of the solution to the food crisis that will consequently result in climate change.
Unanimously, the indigenous women of the world declared that if States did not restore the control that the women had over their land, territories, and resources, it would not only put the communities’ lives in danger, but all of humanity as well.
Through the “Lima Declaration,” endorsed by almost 200 female leaders from Africa, the Pacific, Europe, Asia, Latin America, North America, and Russia, they declared that their role in the preservation of biodiversity and ancestral wisdom of nature is a key piece in order to challenge the impacts of climate change.
“In this moment of serious crisis and impending, irreversible loss of biological diversity, indigenous women emphasize the obligation of the States to protect the territories of indigenous communities,” they demanded.
The declaration, released today, was prepared in the framework of the World Conference of Indigenous Women that met in Lima, Peru, attended by indigenous women from around the globe.
Resources like water, energy, and biodiversity, that contain fundamental economic and strategic value for countries, are located primarily in indigenous territories. This represents a risk for the lives of the communities, especially indigenous women.
A recent study produced by CEPAL shows that in Latin American the growth of mining, forestry, and other industries has resulted in the displacement of millions of indigenous women from their ancestral territories to urban areas.
Nevertheless, this does not mean a change in their life conditions. On the contrary, they already make up part of the most vulnerable populations, having been exposed to various forms of violence such as racism, exploitation of labor, and sexual trafficking.
“Indigenous women experience, in relation to our land, the same pain and effects caused by physical abuse and excessive exploitation,” they asserted in this declaration. Moreover, they warned that they are prepared to defend their communities’ lands, water, and resources with their lives.
The leaders demanded that the states recognize the authority and competency that indigenous communities hold over their lands, territories, and resources. They demanded that all development projects that affect their lives should be made with free, prior, and informed consent of their communities.
Moreover, they indicated that any policy or social program about health, education, or any that focuses on the well being of indigenous women should be carried out with their direct, full, and effective participation. “Nothing about us, without us. Everything about us, with us,” is the protest they adopt in this declaration.
This document, coupled with a plan of action, will be presented in different moments and mechanisms of the United Nations systems focused on the right of women and indigenous communities. The World Conference of Indigenous Communities will be held in 2014 in New York City.
At said conference, they will ask to guarantee the full and effective participation of indigenous women, above all the wise elderly and the young, and that the results of the findings prioritize the concerns of indigenous women.