Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom in Tune with Sustainable Development – Noticias de Bolivia por Prensa Latina

Mar 10, 2019 by

By Ibis Frade*
United Nations (PL) Tarcila Rivera is a Peruvian woman who speaks with admiration of her Inca ancestors and whose pride for her indigenous blood can be found even in the way she wears her hair in braid on each side of her neck.
Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom in Tune with Sustainable Development
For years he has defended the indigenous peoples’ cause, and she does not regret using Spanglish if necessary to make herself understood at international meetings where she brings the demands of these communities silenced for so long.

She came again this year to the United Nations High Level Forum on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where she talked to Prensa Latina News Agency highlighting the difficulties that indigenous peoples experience in accessing these spaces.

She has attended several UN meetings on SDGs and said that in the first ones there was not even a translation service and that was detrimental to the participation of the original communities.

Little by little, we were given the possibility of intervening in the debates and now, three years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, we can already see a greater presence, she explained.

All of this took a lot of effort because it is difficult to find the support and resources necessary to attend meetings at the UN, Rivera added.

Despite the obstacles, we are trying to get more involved in these meetings because the 17 goals of the SDGs are about all of us, including indigenous peoples, she stressed.

Likewise, she pointed out that although indigenous participation is growing gradually in relation to the SDGs, much remains to be done at the national, regional and international levels.

One of the main challenges lies precisely in having an impact on decision-making, as well as obtaining more spaces at different levels, either locally or nationally, she said.

We also need greater possibilities to make our voices heard in the different areas of the implementation of the SDGs, she added.

Rivera stressed the need to holistically deal with natural resources such as water, and to stop approaching them only from an economic viewpoint.

For our people water has many meanings, it is a source of life for all, people, crops, animals and it also has great spiritual connotation, she recalled.

Seeing water only as a socioeconomic resource is very dangerous, warned the representative of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In addition, she referred to the difficult conditions of poverty in which many indigenous communities live in Latin America.

Governments do not usually recognize the contributions made by indigenous peoples, for instance, in the conservation of biodiversity and in the transmission of knowledge and traditions, she noted.

When we talk about the SDGs and other issues, it is still necessary to give more participation to local actors in our communities and respect our decisions, she insisted.

In that regard, she warned about the invasion of indigenous territories to develop industrial-type activities, such as mining: these lands and their natural resources must be respected, the economic policy of a state cannot be built by damaging the rights of a population, she pointed out.

In the same way, Rivera defended indigenous women, who ‘cannot be included only in SDG 5 (Gender Equality) because we are also present in all the other issues.’

Now it is up to us to try to take advantage of the scenarios where we arrived and make it visible that not leaving anyone behind means to include indigenous peoples, women, young women, she called.

The UN High Level Forum on Sustainable Development Goals is another scenario to raise our voices and to learn how governments present their progress on the issue and to what extent they include us or not in these voluntary reports, she highlighted.

Currently, the indigenous communities participate in a better articulated way, and that gives us the opportunity to get to know each other better and share common problems, the activist said.

‘But there is still a lot of data on the SDGs that should be removed and it is necessary to build appropriate indicators.’

On this aspect, she pointed out the obstacles in terms of political participation faced by many indigenous women who are monolingual and have not had access to quality education. At most levels, the power of decision is for males, she said.

In her opinion, another great challenge is related to the openness of the states, because in some places there is still not much information about the SDGs, although governments have the obligation to spread them and involve the population.

We must continue making the effort and talking about it, so that more men and women can get to know about the tools for development, she urged.

‘However, the biggest challenge is for states to see indigenous people as human beings with knowledge and many things to contribute.’

For her part, the special UN rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, stressed the contributions of these peoples to sustainable development.

Most of the world’s biodiversity reserves and forests are in indigenous territory, she recalled.

Therefore, she called to recognize the good practices promoted by these populations and to stop criminalizing their actions for nature preservation.

* Prensa Latina News Agency’s Chief Correspondent at the United Nations

Source: Indigenous Ancestral Wisdom in Tune with Sustainable Development – Noticias de Bolivia por Prensa Latina

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.