PLANT REPORT Current Risks to Amazonia Traditional Peoples March 2012
Word has spread about an Irish company, Celestial Green Ventures (CGV), which is grabbing up millions of hectares of indigenous land in Brazilian Amazonia for carbon trade ventures. It is alleged that the company, whose head office is in Dublin, has recently engaged in questionable contract deals with the Munduruku peoples in the eastern part of the region. According to the CGV Website, this is just one of the company’s many initiatives in tropical forests.
For the past two years, the Brazilian State of Amazonas has been working with government and non-government agencies on the need for new legislation to regulate the so-called "environmental services” in the Amazonia region. At their working group meeting on March 13th, they expressed outrage at the recent deal cut between CGV and some of the Munduruku representatives.
The Missionary Council for Indigenous Peoples (CIMI, North II region, an organization of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil) was present at the meeting between representatives of the Munduruku people and the CGV. It claims that only certain members of the indigenous people signed on to the contract; many others did not, fearing any kind of dealings that might affect the traditional use of their lands, which they refuse to exchange for money.
The National Indian Foundation, FUNAI, charged with safeguarding the rights of indigenous peoples, was not present at the contract negotiations. FUNAI has since stated, through its President, Mr. Márcio Meira, that these kinds of contracts are not valid.
At a time when claims are being made by both public and private organizations that consultations are being conducted in order to justify the voracious advance of carbon trade across the region; when the promise of easy money can blind the judgment of some and seal deals behind the backs of most; when some of the major NGO’s have capitulated to the green-washed discourse of the movers and shakers of the carbon trade, the last remaining tropical forests and their immense, untapped biodiversity of cultures and eco-systems are falling under the force of the market hammer and those who are able to wield it.
PLANT warns that carbon trade speculation is adding to an already explosive mixture of conflicts, disputes and bloodshed, especially in those vast areas where the presence of the Brazilian State is weakest.
PLANT staff is presently on-site in the Brazilian Amazonia where, together with local partners, they are addressing the current situation as well as others affecting traditional communities and smallholder farmers. There are many excellent organizations dedicated to the wider global impact of what is happening to these communities. Links to them can be found on our website.
PLANT will continue to report on the Amazonia situation. Please consult the PLANT Website for updates.