A LONGING FOR UNITY AMONG INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: Dayana Blanco’s reflection of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


In April 2024, the Uru Uru Team joined a milestone high-level meeting organized by the United Nations, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York. During this unique event, Indigenous communities from the seven regions worldwide (Africa, the Arctic, Asia, Central and South America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Russian Federation, Central Asia and Transcaucasia, North America, and the Pacific) were represented, coming together to discuss the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples worldwide. 

The UNPFII provides a platform for Indigenous Peoples to address violations of their fundamental rights, such as self-determination and free prior and informed consent. In this space, we could discuss our ideas, learnings, and shortcomings in climate change, gender inequality, and education. 

Dayana Blanco representing the Uru Uru Team during an intervention at the Earth Day event. Jacobs Film Center.

During the event, the Uru Uru Team was invited to share keynote speeches during two events held by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)  and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) titled “The Power of Indigenous Youth” and “The Renewable Energies”. We were able to share the work our team in Bolivia conducted with decision-makers, non-governmental organizations, and UN agencies, highlighting how the Uru Uru Team is implementing nature-based solutions rooted in their traditional knowledge to restore the Uru Uru Lake.  

The Uru Uru Team was also a part of the intervention in the general session of the UNPFII, where we called upon the Bolivian government to abide by Article 8, Section 2, Subsection B of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which mandates adequate safeguards against any actions aiming to dispossess them from their ancestral lands and territories. 

Our team also reinstated the urgency of Bolivian authorities to abide by Article 1 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which emphasizes  “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding”. 

Strengthening networks of solidarity 

The Uru Uru Team and Zág Institute celebrating Earth Day. Jacobs Film Center.

During our time at the UNPFII, we had the opportunity to connect with another Indigenous sister from the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) network, Isabel Gakran, founder of Instituto Zág, and lead representative of the GLFx Chapter Zág Xokleng. Getting to know her in person was a unique and special moment, where we could collectively weave a support network to share the challenges, struggles, and actions our organizations are taking to restore Mother Earth. 

Throughout our conversations, we realized that the fight of Indigenous communities around the world share some similarities, particularly in terms of the lack of reinforcement of their rights as Indigenous Peoples. In Bolivia, many mining companies do not abide by the free prior and informed consent to settle into Indigenous territories. Similarly, in Brazil, anti-Indigenous legislations, such as the Temporal Framework (Marco Temporal), imposes unjust limitations on Indigenous Peoples’ access to their ancestral territories by enforcing arbitrary, overly restrictive, and legally baseless requirements to legalize ownership of their land. 

The importance of indigenous solidarity

Indigenous communities worldwide can overcome these struggles and sense of isolation with the help of organizations such as the GLF. Our collaboration with the GLF enables us to become a part of a broader support network, where we, Indigenous Peoples, can work together to ensure our rights and recover a harmonious relationship with nature. This sense of solidarity is essential for our struggle against the destruction caused by mining companies, plastic pollution, climate change, and violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, which requires unity and reciprocal work on a local and international scale.

After the UNPFII, the Uru Uru Team and GLFx Zág Xokleng look to the future with renewed hope, united by the powerful synergy of Indigenous Peoples transcending borders, languages, and traditions. Together, we are dedicated to caring for and restoring our shared home, Mother Earth. Through this collective effort, we aim to ensure a thriving future for all living beings, leaving a legacy of resilience and harmony for generations to come.