Ensuring the safety and continuity of the world’s 5000 Fourth World (indigenous) nations is a mandatory requirement to prevent global ecosystems’ collapse. The world’s indigenous nations are located in and responsible for 80% of the world’s remaining biodiverse ecosystems. These nations are culturally adapted to ensuring the perpetual health of ecosystems that nurture and protect the wellbeing of their people and ultimately of all humanity. In other words, all humanity depends on the cultural and physical survival of indigenous nations to promote and preserve biodiversity and thus to ensure humanity as a whole can survive. Fourth World nations are, therefore key to human survival; and killing or colonizing them accelerates the destruction of life supporting biodiversity. A “biocultural strategy” is essential.
Beginning this month, 196 states’ governments will meet in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt to begin talks to negotiate a new international agreement to prevent global collapse of ecosystems on which humanity and all life depend. This process is the third time states’ governments are trying to establish an enforceable agreement (agreements in 2002 and 2010 failed completely) on biodiversity to “stem the loss of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs”. I am not convinced that the states are prepared to actually take the necessary enforcement steps to ensure that biodiversity is preserved from the damages caused by the destruction caused by corrupt state governments and kleptocratic business and corporations. What is needed is an agreement between states and indigenous nations to establish an enforceable International BioCultural Diversity Treaty based on comity and good faith.
That states and businesses are both colonizing indigenous nations in the forests, jungles, deserts, islands and prairies and thus committing genocide accelerates, as I note, the destruction of ecosystems for capital gain. The meeting of states in Egypt is a thin thread on which to hang the survival of humanity especially since most states do not consider Fourth World nations as essential to the global, much less local, ecosystems. That failure alone will prevent the successful negotiation of a new biodiversity agreement that can be enforced and successful.
As I noted in another post, the presence of Brazil’s new dictator Jair Bolsonaro who promises to destroy indigenous peoples in the jungles to advance capitalist extraction of raw materials; and the joyful collaborator that is the US President Donald Trump who seeks to confiscate and sell lands and extract resources rightfully belonging to American Indians; and destructive policies of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines among the 196 states meeting in Sharm el Sheikh this month all join the governments headed by authoritarians in China, Russia, Nigeria, Syria, Turkey, Italy, Hungary, Poland who promise to scuttle an enforceable biodiversity agreement. Their policies cannot advance humanities survival through a biodiversity agreement much less an International BioCultural Treaty. All of these are now kleptocratic states seeking short term financial gains to support their power—and it is plain that once they steal resources and lives from indigenous peoples they will want more. A new strategy taken up by Fourth World nations is essential.
Fourth World nations must establish a new international juridical and legal framework that can and will hold accountable states’ government, their authoritarian controllers and business benefactors. Fourth World nations have the knowledge, the resources and the wealth to change the dynamic of a neo-capitalist international environment lead by authoritarians and dictators. These nations can no longer depend on the United Nations (a state-owned organization) to protect them. The bloodthirsty predators are in the house and biocultural diversity is the sole means by which Fourth World nations will survive, ecosystems will survive and humanity will survive. The 1.3 billion indigenous peoples (5000 nations) must act on their own and seek out what ever allies they can trust to build the capacity to defend themselves and turn back the predatory dictators and authoritarians.
Photo Credit: Deforestation in Indonesian to make way for a palm oil concession. Photograph: Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here