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Indigenous Peoples as agents of peace in the nexus of education, extractives, and climate change (a virtual UN side event)

20 April 2021

Indigenous speakers from Indonesia and the Philippines will share in a virtual side event on 21 April during the ongoing 20th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 19 to 30 April 2021 with the theme Peace, justice, and strong institution: The role of Indigenous Peoples in implementing Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.

This theme puts a spotlight on how cultures and traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples inform and contribute to educate global society towards a holistic and harmonious way of living and well-being and a pattern of living sustainability that is interconnected and values nature.

Education, Extractives and Climate Change Nexus: Indigenous Peoples as Agents of Peace is a virtual UN side event of the NGO Mining Working Group (Southeast Asia Subcommittee) that intends to address the nexus of education, climate adaptation and the impacts of unsustainable land use and conversion to monoculture (oil palm) farming on indigenous lands. Ms. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and  Executive Director of Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) will provide the keynote address.

Three key mandated areas to address are identified: a) impacts of and adaptation to climate change, b) indigenous education, and c) extractive industries, an important emerging issue in the context of Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and the Philippines. Three indigenous speakers from Indonesia and the Philippines will share about their situation, analysis and present actions and how these contribute or not contribute to the realization of SDG 16.

Ms Maria Lourie Victor is from the northern Cordillera region of the Philippines and belongs to the Kankanaey indigenous cultural community. Lourie will discuss her experiences in promoting culture-based education in the context of indigenous communities, more popularly known today in the Philippines as Indigenous Peoples Education. These community-based experiences were foundational to her succeeding work with various organizations in policy advocacy for Indigenous Peoples education. This national advocacy by indigenous communities and support organizations was a critical contributor to the institutionalization of the Indigenous Peoples Education Program in the Department of Education in the Philippines.

Ms Olvy Octavianita Tumbelaka is a Benuaq Dayak from Jengan Danum village in East Kalimantan, Indonesia and will discuss the impact of oil palm monoculture farming. Since 2010, Olvy has been actively involved in indigenous movements and written books based on her research related to Indigenous Peoples and indigenous women. Along with other women writers, Olvy tells a story about the experiences of Indigenous Peoples who are revoked by the extractives industry and how young women cope with the impact.

Mr Jason Menaling is an indigenous forester from the Pulangiyēn culture in Bukidnon, northern Mindanao, Philippines. Jason will share his experiences on climate action and adaptation initiatives by indigenous youth. From his traditional knowledge of relating with the land, and from his trainings on technical and scientific methods in forest and farm management, Jason is able to facilitate an integrated approach in natural resource management grounded on the vision of their community for a sustainable future.

The organizers of this side event, Education, Extractives and Climate Change Nexus: Indigenous Peoples as Agents of Peace, are the Maryknoll Sisters of St Dominic and VIVAT International and the collaborators from the grassroots are Ecojesuit and Tebtebba and is scheduled on 21 April 2021, 8:30 am to 10:00 am (EST/EDT time in the USA and Canada). To register in advance, please click here.

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