Indigenous understanding of Salween River key for biodiversity

By Saw John Bright
The Third Pole
October 11, 2021

As the first part of COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity convenes, decision makers must recognise that free-flowing rivers are essential to Indigenous understanding of reality and the preservation of biodiversity

This week, governments from around the world will convene online for the first part of the UN Biodiversity Summit COP15 (the second part will convene partially in-person in Kunming in spring), which will agree on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. Framed as a ‘stepping stone’ to the 2050 Visionof ‘Living in harmony with nature’ as part of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), ratified by 196 countries, this framework is intended to deal with runaway biodiversity loss over the next decade.

Increased attention is being paid to how Indigenous Peoples have for centuries realised this aspiration of harmony. Indigenous Peoples manage or have rights to 22% of the world’s land, yet this land supports 80% of the world’s biodiversity, even as they struggle to regain ancestral lands in many places. What is less recognised is how Indigenous understanding and perception of reality upholds this harmony.

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