COP15 sparks fears Indigenous people will be removed from land

A key aim of biodiversity conference COP15 to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030 has sparked fears among Indigenous communities who say this could forcibly remove them from land.  

The conference in Montreal, Canada aims to halt and reverse biodiversity loss to both protect nature and combat the climate crisis, as delegates negotiate a global biodiversity framework.  

The 30×30 target has been a key slogan of the talks but has caused controversy among Indigenous people, as the groups have been displaced from protected land for centuries.  

This is despite these communities typically being stewards of the land for years, as research shows indigenous people protect nearly 80% of remaining biodiversity, while making up just 5% of the world’s population.  

green trees on hill

It’s currently still being decided the role Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) will play in the 30×30 policy, as questions remain as to how the protections would be enforced.  

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has agreed to $800m (£510) of funding to go towards Indigenous-led conservation projects, saying he was starting a ‘story of reconciliation’.  

Canada has a long history of discriminating against Indigenous people, most notably with its residential schools which forced children to assimilate and saw extensive abuse and diseases. Just last year the remains of 215 children were found at a former residential school in British Columbia.  

30×30 isn’t the only target advocates are pushing for at COP15, as policies to prevent or reduce invasive species by 50%, the elimination of plastic waste and the reduction of pesticides by two-thirds are also on the table.  

Eyes are also on the protection of seas, as companies have been allowed to exploit the sea by overfishing, sewage dumping and littering plastic and chemical waste.  

Hundreds of scientists and policymakers have called for deep-sea mining to be banned due to the potential environmental devastation it can wreck, suffocating coral and impacting the behvaioural patterns of sea creatures.  

Photo by Cassie Smart


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