Xapuri Declaration: ‘We Reject Any Form of Climate Colonialism’

Originally published at Redd-Monitor.org

Note: The Xapuri Declaration is posted below in full in English and Portuguese.

From 26 to 28 May 2017, a meeting took place in Xapuri, in the state of Acre, Brazil. The meeting brought together Apurinã, Huni Kui, Jaminawa, Manchineri and Shawadawa indigenous peoples, representatives of traditional communities, rubber tappers, academics and supporting organisations. The meeting’s theme was, “The effects of environmental / climatic policies on traditional populations”.

The meeting was supported by Friends of the Earth International, the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and the World Rainforest Movement.

In a short report about the meeting, Daniel Santini of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, writes that the participants reject the term “carbon credits”, because they are actually “pollution credits”. Trading pollution makes the climate problem worse by giving the illusion that something is being done, when in fact it allows pollution to continue.

Santini writes,

Instead of policies based on restrictions on the way of life of traditional peoples, the participants argued that the political-economic model of occupation of the region should be changed, with the suspension of generous public financing for agricultural expansion, industrial logging, and monoculture tree plantations.

Days before the meeting, in Rio Branco, the capital of Acre, corporate and state government representatives met to discuss the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). This is the aviation industry’s disastrous proposal to continue polluting, while using carbon credits to “offset” its emissions.

The World Bank is in talks with the International Civil Aviation Organization about using REDD credits in CORSIA.

Acre is one of the states from which California is looking to buy REDD credits as part of its cap-and-trade scheme. In April 2016, Dave Clegern, a Public Information Officer at the California Air Resources Board, said that,

“The projects that we’re looking at are supported by the locals. They are what is known as sector-based projects, which means that they would be run in conjunction with the government of that country which would provide the opportunity for regular monitoring, verification of the quality of the offsets.”

REDD-Monitor asked Clegern some questions about this statement, including whether a process of free, prior, and informed consent had been carried out about REDD in Acre. And if not, which “locals” was Clegern talking about?

REDD-Monitor is still waiting for Clegern’s reply.

At the end of the meeting in Xapuri, those attending produced the Xapuri Declaration, posted below in full in English and Portuguese:

Xapuri Declaration, May 28, 2017

We, forest dwellers, rubber tappers, Apurinã, Huni Kui, Jaminawa, Manchineri and Shawadawa indigenous people, members of supportive organizations and the Jesuit Travelling Team, teachers from different universities, united in the city of Xapuri in the Brazilian state of Acre from 26 to 28 May 2017, at the meeting “The effects of environmental / climatic policies on traditional populations”, declare:

– That, at this moment of resurgence, we are unifying the struggles of indigenous peoples and rubber tappers in the same cause. Our union is our main weapon against capital.

– That, aware of the history of resistance of the forest peoples and the legacy of Chico Mendes, we will stand firm in the defense of our territories. Like the ones that preceded us, we will continue to oppose attempts to expropriate our ways of life. We demand the demarcation and recognition of our rights to land and territory.

– We reject the ongoing initiatives materialized in policies that aim to convey our territories to private capital groups, including ranchers and loggers. We are concerned about the lack of transparency and the way that different mechanisms have been put forward, including payments for environmental services such as REDD and its variations, unsustainable forest management plans and mechanisms foreseen in the new Brazilian Forest Code, many of which are imposed through intimidation, blackmail, negotiations under false pretences and with bad faith.

– We express our indignation about the false solutions, which legitimize the continuity and expansion of a socially and environmentally destructive model. We reject initiatives to offset pollution. We do not accept mechanisms based on restrictions on our way of life, and we express solidarity with people living in the areas that are contaminated by companies seeking compensation (offsets). We stand by the people from other countries who live in the areas impacted by the pollution generated by destructive companies. No one should live in contaminated areas; it is time to end all kinds of racism, including environmental racism.

– We are being harmed by the arrangements and negotiations between the government of Acre and other states and countries in favor of corporations eager for pollution credits, including oil and mining companies, loggers and agribusiness companies. We are concerned about ongoing talks about aviation emissions compensation through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Tropical Forests, the so-called REDD mechanisms. We refuse to use the term carbon credits, understanding that they are actually pollution credits, which aggravate rather than solve the problem. We reject any form of climate colonialism.

– We express total solidarity with women and men who, forced to fulfill impossible prerogatives, get fined, criminalized, indebted, without conditions to maintain their ways of life, trapped in schemes that refer back to semi-slavery and debt bondage of rubber tappers in colonial times. We also express solidarity with the residents of the rubber tree areas Valparaíso and Russas, who, coerced to submit to a REDD project, are threatened with expropriation of the lands that are rightfully theirs.

– Solidarity to the native community of Nova Oceania, of the Upper Tauhamanu River, in the municipality of Iberia, Peru. Our brothers and sisters Pyru Yini and other communities in isolation face the advance of deforestation, driven by timber concessions, which rely on the direct participation of businesspersons from Acre and others. These groups are involved in REDD projects and, while brokering international agreements with the support of Brazilian authorities, maintain predatory practices. We share the complaint that a village was destroyed, with 18 houses burned, in July 2014, with absolutely no action taken by the authorities, in an episode stained by impunity.

– We call on other rural and urban working people to reject this destructive pattern, marked by inequality and violation of the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional communities. We reiterate our unity in the struggle and willingness to resist to the end. Chico Mendes lives, not in the actions of governmental marketing, but in the struggle of the forest peoples.

 

Declaração de Xapuri, 28 de maio de 2017

Nós, moradores da floresta, seringueiras e seringueiros, indígenas Apurinã, Huni Kui, Jaminawa, Manchineri, Shawadawa, integrantes de organizações solidárias e Equipe Itinerante, professores e professoras de diferentes universidades, reunidos em Xapuri, no período de 26 a 28 de maio de 2017, no encontro “Os efeitos das políticas ambientais/climáticas para as populações tradicionais”, declaramos:

– Que, neste momento de retomada, estamos unindo as lutas dos povos indígenas e seringueiros em uma mesma causa. Nossa união é nossa principal arma de ação contra o capital.

– Que, cientes da história de resistência dos povos da floresta e do legado de Chico Mendes, nos manteremos firmes na defesa de nossos territórios. Assim como os que nos antecederam, seguiremos nos opondo às tentativas de expropriação de nossos modos de vida. Exigimos a demarcação e reconhecimento de nossos direitos a terra e território.

– Rejeição às iniciativas em curso materializadas em políticas que têm como objetivo entregar nossos territórios a grupos de capital privado, entre os quais fazendeiros e madeireiros. Manifestamos preocupação com a falta de transparência e maneira como diferentes mecanismos têm sido apresentados, incluindo pagamentos por serviços ambientais como REDD e suas variáveis, planos de manejo florestal insustentáveis, e mecanismos previstos no novo Código Florestal, muitos dos quais impostos por meio de intimidação, chantagem, negociações marcadas por estelionatos e má fé.

– Nossa indignação com as falsas soluções, que legitimam a continuidade e expansão de um modelo social e ambientalmente destrutivo. Rejeitamos as iniciativas voltadas para compensar a poluição. Não aceitamos os mecanismos baseados em restrições aos nossos modos de vida, e manifestamos solidariedade em relação às populações que vivem nas áreas contaminadas pelas empresas que buscam compensação. Somos solidários e estamos juntos das pessoas de outros países que vivem nas áreas impactadas pela poluição gerada por empresas destrutivas. Ninguém deve viver em áreas envenenadas, é hora de pôr fim a todo tipo de racismo, incluindo o ambiental.

– Que estamos sendo lesados pelos acordos pactuados e negociatas feitas entre o governo do Acre e outros estados e países em benefício de corporações ávidas por créditos de poluição, entre as quais petroleiras, mineradoras, madeireiras e empresas do agronegócio. Manifestamos preocupação com as conversas em curso sobre compensação de emissões da aviação através da Redução de Emissão por Desmatamento e Degradação de Florestas Tropicais, os chamados mecanismos REDD. Nos recusamos a usar o termo crédito de carbono, entendendo que são na verdade créditos de poluição, que agravam em vez de solucionar o problema. Rejeitamos toda e qualquer forma de colonialismo climático.

– Solidariedade total com as mulheres e homens que, forçados a cumprir prerrogativas impossíveis, acabam multados, criminalizados, endividados, sem condições de manter seus modos de vida, presos em esquemas que remetem às práticas de aviamento e barracão, incluindo escravidão por dívida. Manifestamos solidariedade também com os moradores do seringal Valparaíso e Russas, que, coagidos a se submeterem a um projeto de REDD, sofrem ameaças de expropriação das terras que são deles por direito.

– Solidariedade à comunidade nativa Nova Oceania, do Alto Rio Tauhamanu, no município Ibéria, no Peru. Nossos irmãos e irmãs Pyru Yini e outros grupos em isolamento enfrentam o avanço do desmatamento, impulsionado por concessões madeireiras, que contam com participação direta de empresários acreanos e outros. São grupos envolvidos em projetos de REDD, que, ao mesmo tempo que costuram acordos internacionais com apoio das autoridades brasileiras, mantém práticas predatórias. Compartilhamos a denúncia que uma aldeia foi destruída com 18 casas incendiadas em julho de 2014, sem absolutamente nenhuma providência por parte das autoridades, em um episódio manchado pela impunidade.

– Conclamamos outros povos, trabalhadores e trabalhadoras do campo e da cidade, a recusar esse padrão destrutivo, marcado pela desigualdade e pela violação dos direitos dos povos indígenas e comunidades tradicionais. Reiteramos nossa unidade na luta e disposição de resistir até o fim. Chico Mendes vive, não nas ações de marketing governamental, mas sim na luta dos povos da floresta.

 

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