Letter to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

  • April 12, 2024

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Ahead of the 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which will take place from April 15 to 26, 2024, the coalition “Amazonia for Life: Protect 80% by 2025” sent a letter to the president and members of the Forum and a report on the progress of Resolutions 18 and 19 adopted in the Regional Dialogues corresponding to Central America, South America and the Caribbean of the UNPFII last year. Read and download the full letter and report here.



Darío Mejía Montalvo
President of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2023-2025

Your Excellencies,

In 2023, Amazonian Indigenous leaders from several countries participated in the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) requesting in each of their interventions the support of the members of the Forum to protect 80% of the Amazonia. The Minister of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, Sonia Guajajara, joined this call, and the resolutions derived from the Regional Dialogues reflect the urgency of the situation in Amazonia, where certain priority areas have begun a process of regressive death or tipping point. With them, our Great Maloca dies as well. In a context where the Amazonia is going through the worst drought in its history and the vertiginous advance of fires has deprived hundreds of Indigenous communities of minimum vital conditions – such as access to water and food security derived from the loss of thousands of hectares of forests and their biodiversity, a minimum advance is not enough for us as a planet.

Studies reveal that, between 2021 and 2023, there was a rather timid advance in the recognition of Indigenous Territories (ITs), approximately 7 million hectares, which is the exhortation of the resolutions of the UNPFII 2023 and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Resolution in 2021. However, reversing the tipping point in the Amazonia requires a strong commitment from the States, and we, Indigenous Peoples, must be vigilant. The Amazonian countries have not only failed to prioritize this task, but incongruous frameworks have buried the possibility of achieving systemic changes. The result is that the Amazonia has been taken over by organized crime, to grab and devastate the natural resources of the Amazonia with the complicity of some governments. The lack of a guarantee by the States to provide legal security to the ITs is an accomplice of the debacle in which the region is plunged. The UNPFII must become the entity that pressures the international community to defend the territorial rights of Indigenous Peoples and of  Amazonia as a subject of law.

As the General Coordinator of the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), which represents more than 500 Indigenous Peoples, and as the Co-Coordinator of the “Amazonia for Life: Protect 80% by 2025”, together with the Coalition that bears the same name and with the support of more than 50 Amazonian leaders from the nine countries of the basin, through this communication we follow up on regional resolutions 18 and 19 adopted in the Regional Dialogues corresponding to Central America, South America and the Caribbean of the UNPFII in 2023 with a report on the current state of deforestation and degradation in Amazonia, its impact on Amazonian Indigenous Peoples, and the rather timid progress regarding the recognition of Indigenous Territories. Therefore, I urge Amazonian countries and the international community to unite to save the Amazonia with urgent and real actions.

Therefore, the request to this Forum is to integrate the urgency of protecting 80% of the Amazonia by 2025 adoption it as a formal position of the UNPFII in 2024, by launching a Global Pact for the protection of the Amazonia, a region on which the climate balance of the planet depends. The role of Indigenous Peoples, their territories, knowledge and governance systems are vital for the survival of our cultures, the integrity of ecosystems and the survival of biodiversity not only in the Amazon but on the planet. 

We attach a report with three sections. The first covers the status of Deforestation, Degradation and Indigenous Peoples in Amazonia in 2023. The second section presents the progress of the Recognition of 100 million hectares of ITs throughout Amazonia. Each section includes relevant data at the regional level and from countries whose deforestation and degradation rates have impacted Indigenous Peoples. It is worth noting that the Amazonia is experiencing the worst drought in 120 years. Even though forest loss fell drastically in Brazil and Colombia, high rates of deforestation persist and the forest continues to burn at an alarming rate. The third section is our call for a Global Pact for the Amazonia with proposed actions to reach the protection of 80% by 2025, for which we call on the support of the Forum. 

We appreciate your attention, Mr. Chairman, and the Members of the Forum. We also request the dissemination of this communication to all Members of the Forum as a mechanism of transparency and accountability of the resolutions taken in this, our space. Finally, we request the members of the Forum to support our urgent call for a global pact to save the Amazonia, prioritizing the recognition of ITs and the need to reiterate last year’s resolutions. It is urgent and necessary to communicate to the Amazonian countries about the UNPFII resolutions that will serve as a beacon for the COP16 and COP 29 this year and the fulfillment of the goal of 80% by 2025.

Yours sincerely,

Fanny Kuiru
General Coordinator of the Coordinator of the Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA)
Co-Coordinator of the Initiative “Amazonia for Life:Protect 80% by 2025”