Cassandra Castro – from Cenarium
Brasília – Pará is hosting this week two distinct events, which address the same theme from different points of view. The first – whose opening was made official by the governor of Pará, Helder Barbalho – is the World Bioeconomy Forum, hosted for the first time outside Europe. The second, with the objective of representing a counterpoint to the international meeting, is the Amazon Socio-Biodiversity Meeting, which will count with the participation of more than 100 Amazonian leaders who were not invited to participate in the Forum.
The Amazonian Meeting is organized by the National Rubber Tappers Council (CNS), the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab) and other organizations of traditional people and communities. For three days, these representatives will discuss the bioeconomy as a solution for the development of the Amazon.
The events take place from October 18 to 20. Without having their participation integrated into the construction and realization of the World Forum, the social movements understand that the public discussion cannot advance without their action and involvement. That is why they are holding the parallel event.
Opening with strong speeches
The vice-coordinator of the Federation of Indigenous People of the State of Pará (Fepipa), Alessandra Korap, was emphatic during her explanation at the opening of the meeting that takes place in Belém, capital of the State. For her, the bio-economy, the way it has been presented, can be yet another threat to the lives of indigenous people.
“Enough of companies taking territories, enough of international banks financing projects that come to kill us. We don’t want any project that comes from the top down, every project that comes from the top down is death”, said the leader.
For Coiab’s political advisor, Toya Manchineri, respect for the protagonism of indigenous people and traditional populations within the context of the bioeconomy is fundamental.
“We, indigenous people and traditional populations, have been promoting sociobiodiversity for millennia, through our relationship with the forest and our territories. It is essential that our performance and importance be recognized and strengthened based on our knowledge. We are promoting this event to create a space for discussion and mark our position in this debate about bioeconomy”, he emphasized.
During the opening of the event, several leaders spoke about the importance of taking into consideration what concept is defined for bioeconomy. They defend that the economy should be at the service of the people and not the other way around. The native and traditional peoples defend an economy capable of coexisting with the forest, guaranteeing rights, and distributing income fairly.
“We believe that the development of the bioeconomy should not be done in isolation and that it should be inserted in a more global context, with the participation of all actors involved, especially the traditional populations who, besides having the knowledge, have conserved these forest systems throughout the ages”, said the president of the CNS, Julio Barbosa.
At the end of the meeting, the Letter from the Amazon will be written. Fruit of the three days of discussions, it is expected that the document will mark, publicly, the main recommendations of the traditional peoples for the economic transition. The idea is to allow the conservation of the biome and the respect for the fundamental rights of its traditional peoples and communities, as well as of the millions of Brazilians who inhabit the region’s cities.