Indigenous People Attend Climate Change Training in Roraima

CIR works on the implementation of territorial and environmental management plans

April, 2022 - Aiming to strengthen the role of traditional communities in environmental and territorial protection in the Amazon, the Roraima Indigenous Council (CIR) developed several actions, including the continuous training of community agents to face the impacts of climate change and the implementation of Territorial and Environmental Management Plans (PGTAs). 

Some of these initiatives are part of the Bem Viver project, which promotes the well-being of Indigenous peoples in the state of Roraima, developed under the Partnership for the Conservation of Amazon Biodiversity (PCAB) with support from USAID/Brazil. 

Bem Viver was implemented by CIR together with the Brazilian Education Institute (IEB), and Nature and Culture International (NCI). It aims to promote governance and the territorial and environmental management of Indigenous lands, administer PGTAs, and structure sustainable Indigenous cattle-farming practices, introduced by communities in the region more than four decades ago. 

On April 6- 7, CIR's Territorial and Environmental Management Department (DGTA) engaged Indigenous territorial and environmental agents on a continued climate change training program. The course aimed to build capacity among Indigenous communities, and brought together about 100 people at the Lago Caracaranã Regional Center, in the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land (TI) region.

Over two days, participants discussed four topics: climate change and plans to address it; a platform for Indigenous peoples and local communities; Indigenous peoples and climate funds; and Indigenous peoples and REDD strategies and safeguards.

REDD+ is an incentive under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to financially reward developing countries for their achievements in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. It takes into account the role of forest carbon stock conservation, sustainable forest management, and forest carbon stock increase.

"When environmental agents are trained, Indigenous communities become better prepared to face climate impacts. The agents also work as knowledge multipliers in their regions," says Sineia do Vale, CIR DGTA coordinator.

Sineia belongs to the Wapichana ethnic group. She has been coordinating discussions on the subject for several years, having participated in COP26, in Glasgow, and in the Leaders’ Summit on Climate, hosted by the Joe Biden administration last year.

During the training program, which included representatives from the IEB, the Environment Ministry, and the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), participants discussed a bill of law that advocates the formal recognition of environmental agents at the national level. 

Currently, there is no federal legislation that officially recognizes such agents. In many cases, they work as volunteers, only receiving support grants through specific projects. The bill, submitted by Roraima representative Joênia Wapichana, is currently being reviewed by the National Congress. Ms. Wapichana belongs to the Rede Party, and is the only Indigenous parliamentarian at the federal level (out of 594).

According to Sineia, more than 240 Indigenous environmental agents were trained in Roraima in recent years, including those who participated in two training programs in December 2021 on how to use environmental and territorial monitoring tools with satellite data.

PGTAs — Two territorial and environmental management plans were implemented in April: one at the Jacamim Indigenous Land, home to about 1,500 Wapichana people; and the other in Santa Cruz, at the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, where seven communities live.

One of the key goals for Santa Cruz is to strengthen their community gardens, including those under the responsibility of local women. Their main crops are corn, cassava, vegetables, and medicinal herbs. 

“The construction and implementation of these plans, with participation, strengthen the Indigenous culture and values the work of the communities”, says Sineia.

Learn more about CIR (in Portuguese).