VIDEO: 2019 Rainforest Foundation year in review

2019 year in review

VIDEO: 2019 Rainforest Foundation year in review

Rainforest Foundation US Senior Geographer, Cameron Ellis, shares an overview of the major victories of Rainforest Foundation US in 2019

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Amazon Emergency Fund Scales Up

The Amazon Emergency Fund (AEF) received a $2 million donation from the French Government to deliver COVID-19 relief to indigenous communities.

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Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the major challenges of our day: deforestation, the climate crisis, and human rights violations. Your donation moves us one step closer to creating a more sustainable and just future.

Want to fight climate change effectively? Here’s where to donate your money.

Want to fight climate change effectively? Here’s where to donate your money.

Vox.com’s recent article profiles six of the most high-impact, cost-effective, evidence-based organizations.

4) Rainforest Foundation US

What it does: Rainforest Foundation US works to protect the rainforests of Central and South America by partnering directly with folks on the front lines: indigenous people in Brazil, Peru, Panama, and Guyana, who are deeply motivated to protect their lands. The foundation supplies them with legal support as well as technological equipment and training so they can use smartphones, drones, and satellites to monitor illegal loggers and miners, and take action to stop them.

Why you should consider donating: Rainforest Foundation US has shown an unusual commitment to rigorous evaluation of its impact by inviting Columbia University researchers to conduct a randomized controlled trial in Loreto, Peru. Starting in early 2018, researchers collected survey data and satellite imagery from 36 communities partnered with the foundation and 40 control communities. The analysis is ongoing, but the preliminary results are promising.

“We see tentative findings that along the deforestation frontier — where deforestation was most likely to occur — there are reductions in the rate of deforestation,” said Tara Slough, the Columbia University researcher leading the study, in a presentation this September.

Given that this year has seen massive fires and a surge of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, an ecosystem on which the global climate depends, it now seems like an especially good time to directly support the indigenous people who are holding the front line for all of us.

Click here to read the full article on Vox.com.

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Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the major challenges of our day: deforestation, the climate crisis, and human rights violations. Your donation moves us one step closer to creating a more sustainable and just future.

Indigenous People of Panama celebrate major land rights win

Embera leader: “We’ve waited 40 years for this day. This decision allows us to finally have our rights to lands overlapped by national protected areas recognized”.

Indigenous People of Panama celebrate major land rights win

Embera leader: “We’ve waited 40 years for this day. This decision allows us to finally have our rights to lands overlapped by national protected areas recognized”.

On Tuesday, December 10th, International Human Rights Day, Indigenous leaders from around the Darien in Panama gathered in the Embera village of Arimae to celebrate an important victory in advancing indigenous rights in the country.

Alexis Alvarado, Head of the Department of Indigenous Affairs at the National Land Management Authority, presents a copy of the government resolution that paves the way for land titling for numerous indigenous communities in Panama.

After years of negotiation, pressure and legal work, the Ministry of Environment in Panama recently cleared the way for the titling of indigenous lands in protected areas.

Leaders celebrated this landmark resolution — which recognizes that indigenous peoples’ claims to land predate the establishment of the protected area system in Panama — and that the best strategy to conserve forests is to respect the rights of indigenous peoples who live there.

Embera Cacique Elivardo Membache summed up the occasion, saying, “We’ve waited 40 years for this day. This decision allows us to finally obtain rights to lands that overlap national protected areas.”

Meanwhile, Panamanian government official, Alexis Alvarado, Head of the Department of Indigenous Affairs at the National Land Management Authority, said that “the resolution proves that there is no incompatibility between the recognition of Indigenous lands and protected areas, and that Indigenous communities have rights to lands inside national protected areas.”

December 10th is also particularly important for the community of Arimae, as they celebrated the fourth anniversary of their land title.

Although not overlapped by a protected area, Arimae is central to the struggle for collective lands in Panama because it is where the struggle for recognition of collective lands was born, and where many of its leaders came from.

We hope that with the new resolution, more Embera, Wounaan, Guna and Naso indigenous lands will be recognized in the coming year, thus advancing the protection of the environment and human rights in Panama.

For more information, read our update.

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Support Our Work

Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the major challenges of our day: deforestation, the climate crisis, and human rights violations. Your donation moves us one step closer to creating a more sustainable and just future.

Defending the Guardians of the Forest

Defending the Guardians of the Forest

On International Human Rights Day, we stand with Environmental Defenders and Indigenous Peoples around the world because:

  • In 2018, 164 environmental defenders were murdered around the world. Almost one-third of these killings occurred in the Amazon.
  • Tropical forests are critical to combat the climate crisis, and forests managed by Indigenous Peoples are healthier and experience less deforestation than even national parks.
  • Rainforest Foundation US provides security and other support to Indigenous leaders whose lives are threatened when they stand up to governments and corrupt businesses.
This satellite image of Panama shows precisely the stark divisions between lands managed and protected by Indigenous Peoples and those that are not.

How a murder on a remote Brazilian road is linked to the climate crisis

The drive-by shooting this weekend of two Guajajara Indigenous leaders on a lonesome road in Brazil by unknown assailants has gone largely unreported.

But the murder of the two environmental defenders, Firmino and Raimundo Guajajara, (and a third one, Paulo Paulino Guajajara, who was killed a little over a month ago) is of profound importance to the long-term survival of the Amazon and, by extension, the world’s ability to manage the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Linking the murder with the climate crisis may sound like an exaggeration until you consider the fact that scientists agree that saving the Amazon is critical to humanity’s ability to survive the most damaging impacts of global warming. 

The statement is even less of an exaggeration when you realize that forests that are owned and managed by Indigenous Peoples experience less deforestation and boast greater biodiversity than even national parks.

A global pattern of abuse against environmental defenders
Unfortunately, the murders of Firminio, Raimundo, and Paulo Paulino Guajajara represent probably only a small fraction of the violence perpetrated against environmental defenders across the Amazon this year.

According to Global Witness, 164 environmental defenders were murdered across the globe in 2018 and about a third of these occurred in the Amazon.

Currently, the persecution and intimidation of Indigenous Peoples is worse in Brazil where President Jair Bolsonaro has publicly supported the invasion of Indigenous lands for “more productive uses” and called for the “assimilation” of Indigenous Peoples into mainstream Brazilian culture.

Edwin Chota is one of four Indigenous Asheninka leaders murdered in 2014 for standing up to a powerful illegal logging company in the Peruvian Amazon.

A glimmer of hope in Peru

Across the Amazon — and in many other countries in the tropical belt — the murder of environmental defenders and Indigenous leaders often goes unpunished.

One exception may be Peru, where federal prosecutors recently filed murder charges against two powerful businessmen who are the alleged masterminds behind the killing of four Indigenous Asheninka leaders slain in 2014 for trying to protect their forest.

The trial could set a historical precedent for Indigenous Peoples across the Amazon who have for centuries been victims of murder, rape, harassment, and other abuses for trying to protect their lands and defend their cultures. 

What can be done? Support the Indigenous communities, demand justice

Since 2014, thanks to support from donors like you, Rainforest Foundation US has provided security to members of the Saweto community and to the widows of the four murdered Asheninka leaders.

Our primary goal is to ensure the safety of the widows and community members while supporting them in their quest for justice.

Additionally, Rainforest Foundation US is working with partners to make sure that the case remains visible and cannot be easily swept under the rug. This week, members of the Saweto community are visiting Washington DC to urge US government agencies, lawmakers, and human rights organizations to keep up the pressure on the Peruvian government.

Find out more about what you can do by visiting justiceforsaweto.org

Supporting Indigenous environmental defenders in Brazil
In addition to supporting the people of Saweto in Peru, Rainforest Foundation US is also providing direct security support to Yanomami leaders in Northern Brazil who are fighting against the invasion of their territory by some 20,000 illegal gold miners.

This is another case where individual donations are making it possible for us to help protect Indigenous leaders who stand up for their rights while fighting corrupt business and abusive government policies.

On this International Human Rights Day, let’s do everything in our power to support and protect environmental defenders and Indigenous leaders across the tropics because they are the true Defenders of the Forest… and with the Amazon nearing a catastrophic tipping point, we need to protect those life-giving forests more than ever.

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Article

Amazon Emergency Fund Scales Up

The Amazon Emergency Fund (AEF) received a $2 million donation from the French Government to deliver COVID-19 relief to indigenous communities.

Support Our Work

Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the major challenges of our day: deforestation, the climate crisis, and human rights violations. Your donation moves us one step closer to creating a more sustainable and just future.

APIB statement in response to the Murders of Indigenous Leaders in Maranhão

APIB statement in response to the Murders of Indigenous Leaders in Maranhão

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On this International Human Rights Day, we share with you a statement from APIB, the National Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil regarding the recent murder of two Indigenous leaders.

APIB statement in response to the Murders  of Indigenous Leaders in Maranhão

Editor’s Note: At the COP25 in Madrid to advocate for their rights, Brazil’s indigenous leaders speak out below against the news that two more of their number have been murdered in Brazil. The killings — the third in the last month—take place against the backdrop of growing evidence from the IPCC and the IPBES that when indigenous and other local communities have strong land rights, they outperform all other public and private actors in protecting forests and biodiversity. They argue this is not just a matter of human rights. It is a matter of protecting the planet.

Madrid, December 9, 2019 – Earlier this year we, the National Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the Brazilian coordinating organization for the country’s Indigenous Peoples, held a national campaign called Red January. With the campaign slogan “Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More”, we denounced the launch of the offensive against Indigenous Peoples that began as soon as Jair Bolsonaro was inaugurated President. Immediately upon taking office, he targeted existing policies in support of Indigenous Peoples and overrode them in support of the worst agribusiness interests, all the while fanning the flames of hate speech and prejudice against Indigenous Peoples.

Last Saturday, on December 7, another two Indigenous leaders were murdered: Firmino Silvino Prexede Guajajara, Chief of Silvino Village (Cana Brava Indigenous Land), and Raimundo Guajajara, Chief of Descendência Severino Village (Lagoa Comprida Indigenous Land), both in Maranhão state – where just 35 days ago the Forest Guardian Paulo Paulino Guajajara was also killed.

These crimes reflect the escalation of hate and barbarism inflamed by Jair Bolsonaro’s government, which is attacking us daily, denying our right to exist and promoting the historical illness of racism, which Brazil still suffers from.

We are adrift without protection from the State, which is not fulfilling its constitutional duties. The current administration is acting outside of the law, criminal in its political practice, and is operating in a genocidal way, seeking to expel us from our territories, killing our culture, and making our peoples bleed.

The tension, persecution and lack of safety felt by Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples is increasing. We are being attacked, wiped out and criminalized. An attack on Indigenous life is an attack against humanity, as we Indigenous Peoples of the world defend 82% of global biodiversity. In Brazil, we amount to almost a million Indigenous People. We protect 13% of ecosystems in the whole country. We are among the planet’s richest cultures, represented by 305 peoples and 274 languages, and over 180 cases of peoples in voluntary isolation.

Much is said about fighting climate change, but it must be understood that our survival will guarantee the preservation of what is most important to the future of humanity. Mother Earth cannot handle another 50 years of the current predatory economic model. We know that we are in danger and that there is no more time.

We demand justice, and that measures be taken immediately! We demand that the government authorities investigate the atrocities committed against us and punish the criminals who perpetrated these murders, so that the feeling of impunity doesn’t motivate more criminal actions against our people, the brutal slaughtering of ndigenous lives.

Here at COP25, where we’re participating with a delegation of over 20 Indigenous People from across Brazil, we demand that Indigenous Peoples’ rights be respected in fully implementing the Paris Climate Accord.

To our friends and allies from civil society organizations around the world, we also ask for help. This will be Red December! We call for a global mobilization. Our people in Maranhão state occupied BR 216 Highway, seeking justice for all of the murders, and we need everybody to join the fight, to make it a collective struggle.

This will be the Red December for Indigenous Peoples and peoples of the planet, and our right to exist. Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More!

For more information, or to speak to an Indigenous leader, please contact Marielle Ramires at +55 61 9635-8257 or Maria Paula Fernandes at +55 21 99716-7529

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Article

Amazon Emergency Fund Scales Up

The Amazon Emergency Fund (AEF) received a $2 million donation from the French Government to deliver COVID-19 relief to indigenous communities.

Support Our Work

Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the major challenges of our day: deforestation, the climate crisis, and human rights violations. Your donation moves us one step closer to creating a more sustainable and just future.

Landmark decision paves way for land rights in Panama

Landmark decision paves way for land rights in Panama

This map shows protected areas, overlapping areas, and Indigenous lands.

In November 2019, Panama’s Ministry of Environment took a massive step forward for human rights and the environment by recognizing indigenous land rights within protected areas.

After a negotiation process lasting more than two years, the government of Panama issued on a legal resolution clearing the way for the titling of indigenous lands overlapping protected areas.  This is good news for indigenous rights and the environment, as indigenous lands in Panama are among the best protected in the country. 

The legal memo is a momentous victory for Panama’s indigenous people who live outside of the formal comarca system, whose land tenure demands have been denied for decades. Most of the remaining untitled indigenous lands in Panama overlap either the protected area system or other sensitive habitats (coastal wetlands, primary forest) that are also protected under Panamanian law and not subject to individual land titling.

This legal limbo for collective lands has constituted the single greatest obstacle to advancing land tenure security in Panama over many years.

Now, with the legal obstacles removed, some twenty-five territories can be titled. This includes the lands of the Naso people whose traditional territory occupies the La Amistad International Park (PILA) and the Guna of Tagargunyal, who live almost entirely within Darien National Park (PND), Central America’s largest protected area and one of the largest remaining stretches of pristine forest in the region.

This satellite image shows the boundaries of Indigenous territories (in green). Notice the deep green (healthy) forest cover when compared to neighboring protected areas.

The ruling is also important because of its scope, which covers indigenous people aspiring to collective land titles as well as groups that wish to establish a new comarca, such as the Naso people of northern Panama.

The ruling is also significant for its references to international law, which firmly establishes the positive obligation of states to title and demarcate the lands that have traditionally been used and occupied by Indigenous Peoples. The Ministry of Environment has firmly recognized these obligations, the primacy of international law over national law, and the need for the state to clarify and reform national laws when they conflict with international obligations.

The ruling is also a big victory for forest conservation in Panama, as land tenure security for the indigenous people who have stewarded these forests for centuries is undoubtedly the best hope for their long-term protection against conversion to farmland or cattle ranches, or concession for logging, mining or palm oil.

Now the hard work of finalizing territorial maps, reaching agreements with neighbors and third parties occupying indigenous lands, and negotiating agreements to co-manage or collaboratively manage protected areas can begin in earnest.

The role of the Rainforest Foundation US in all of this has been central.

Our staff has been on the ground in Panama for years mapping with communities, developing land use plans and supporting the negotiation process with the government. We have supported key partners, including the National Coordination of Indigenous Peoples of Panama (COONAPIP), the Embera and Wounaan Collective Land Congress (CGTCEW), the Wounaan Peoples National Congress (CNPW) and the Ancestral Congress of the Guna of Tagargunyal (CGTATT). Rainforest FoundationUS has also provided staff and advocacy support to our key partners and financed the legal work needed to achieve this important victory in conjunction with the Tenure Facility.

Volante Informativo sobre la Resolución Ministerial 0612-2019

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Support Our Work

Rainforest Foundation US is tackling the major challenges of our day: deforestation, the climate crisis, and human rights violations. Your donation moves us one step closer to creating a more sustainable and just future.

Daniela supports the overall administration of Rainforest Foundation US’s work in Peru, with a recent focus on supporting the program’s COVID-19 response. Prior to joining Rainforest Foundation, Formerly, Daniela administered the Casa Andina hotel network in Peru. She holds a degree in Business Administration and is a native Spanish language speaker.