An opportunity to protect the Amazonia: Stand.earth reacts to launch of Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance at COP15
December 12, 2022
Tiohtià:ke, Unceded Kanien’kéha territory (MONTREAL, QC) – Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson announced in Montreal today the launch of a Sustainable Critical Minerals Alliance. In response, Indigenous leaders and allies are calling on Canada and other countries to use this moment to recognize that the best way to protect against unsustainable mining in the Amazon is to endorse the protection of 80% of the Amazonia by 2025 at COP15.
“The terms mining and sustainable are contradictory. Countries like Canada must seize this critical opportunity to stand behind Indigenous leaders and support protecting 80% of the Amazonia, which has now reached a tipping point,” said Gregorio Mirabal, General Coordinador, Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA). “It can be done if we act swiftly, act together and act urgently, as these might be the last negotiations for a Global Biodiversity Framework where we can discuss the future of the Amazonia.”
The Alliance, which includes Canada, the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom, have agreed to voluntarily work toward “developing sustainable and inclusive mining practices.” According to findings from the “Amazonia for life 80% by 2025” Initiative, mining is present in all the countries of the Amazonia, affecting 17% of the region.
“This is an important opportunity for Canada to demonstrate its role as an international leader when it comes to the biodiversity crisis and mining, as well as other extractive activities that lead to gross human rights violations,” said Tzeporah Berman, International Programs Director at Stand.earth. “At the G7, Prime Minister Trudeau put the spotlight on the Amazonia saying that “we need to act for the Amazonia and act for our planet — our kids and grandkids are counting on us.” Now Canada must stand behind this message and lead countries to protect 80% of the Amazonia by 2025.”
New mapping and analysis released earlier today at COP15 reveal that oil and gas expansion in the Amazonia is a rapidly accelerating existential threat to global climate stability and biodiversity, and to tens of millions of Indigenous People and local communities who live inside areas slated for oil and gas exploration and development. An estimated 65 million hectares of undisturbed tropical forest (an area nearly twice the size of Poland) now overlap with existing or planned oil and gas blocks in the Amazon Basin. Over 500 distinct Indigenous nationalities call the Amazon Basin home and more than 25 million hectares of Indigenous Territories are now in oil and gas blocks.
For years, mining companies headquartered in Canada have perpetrated egregious human rights and environmental violations in the Amazon Rainforest. After the launch of this new mining alliance, Amazonian Indigenous leaders gathered outside the Canada Pavilion chanting, “mining out” and “accountability.”
“Legal and illegal mining is destroying the Amazonia, polluting the rivers, and is one of the key drivers of violence against environmental defenders and Indigenouls leaders in the region,” said Alicia Guzman, Director of the Amazon program at Stand.earth. “The mining industry has long been proven to be neither sustainable nor just in Canada and around the world. Now is the time for world leaders here at COP15 to fulfill their pledges to protect the Amazonia and Indigenous territories everywhere.”
Canada has a critical opportunity to support meaningful action for Amazonia. It must ensure respect for Free, Prior and Informed Consent and join Indigenous leaders calling for a global agreement to protect 80% of Amazonia at the COP15 negotiations in Montreal this week.
Ziona Eyob, Media Director – Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 604 757 7279
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