How Indigenous Peoples are leading the way on global biodiversity protection

By Ben Powless
Canadian Geographic
January 16, 2023

Indigenous knowledge allowed ecosystems to thrive for millennia — and now it’s finally being recognized as integral in solving the world’s biodiversity crisis. What part did it play in COP15?

On a grey December day, a few blocks from Montreal’s Palais de Congrès where world leaders were gathered to hammer out a new global framework to protect biodiversity, dozens of people crammed into a large shaputuan — Innu gathering tent — across from the city’s old port. While it was chilly inside, and each gust of wind seemed like it might lift up the wood and canvas structure and blow it away, spirits were high as Indigenous leaders from Canada and around the world shared stories of their conservation wins.

Organized by the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, the space provided an opportunity for local and international delegates to hear about how Indigenous Peoples — from the rainforests of the Amazon to British Columbia — are already leading the way on biodiversity protection in their communities.

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