Indigenous rights & well-being

Indigenous person from Kogui people of Colombia

New online tool is first to track funding to Indigenous, local, and Afro-descendant communities

The Path to Scale dashboard, developed in a partnership between the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and the Rainforest Foundation Norway (RFN), provides information on funding from 133 donors since 2011 based on publicly available information. According to the developers, this publicly accessible dashboard will help donors, NGOs and rights holders identify critical funding gaps and opportunities in global efforts to secure communities’ rights.

New online tool is first to track funding to Indigenous, local, and Afro-descendant communities More

Whale jumping

In move to protect whales, Polynesian Indigenous groups give them ‘personhood’

Indigenous leaders of New Zealand, Tahiti, and the Cook Islands signed a historic treaty that recognizes whales as legal persons in a move conservationists believe will apply pressure to national governments to offer greater protections for the large mammals. “It’s fitting that the traditional guardians are initiating this,” said Mere Takoko, a Māori conservationist who leads Hinemoana Halo Ocean Initiative, the group that spearheaded the treaty. “For us, by restoring those world populations we also restore our communities.”

In move to protect whales, Polynesian Indigenous groups give them ‘personhood’ More

Redwoods with sun shining through

Yurok Tribe becomes the first to manage land with U.S. National Park Service

California’s Yurok Tribe, which had 90% of its territory taken from it during the gold rush of the mid-1800s, will be getting a slice of its land back to serve as a new gateway to Redwood national and state parks visited by 1 million people a year. The Yurok will be the first Native people to manage tribal land with the National Park Service under a historic memorandum of understanding signed by the tribe, Redwood national and state parks, and the non-profit Save the Redwoods League.

Yurok Tribe becomes the first to manage land with U.S. National Park Service More

Bolivian rainforest

Bolivian town Sena protects 1 million acres of Amazon rainforest

Called the Gran Manupare Integrated Management Natural Area, the law was overseen by, and passed for the benefit of, “peasants and indigenous communities,” per a statement from the mayor’s office. Located in the Pando Department in the far northern corner of Bolivia, the new protected area represents almost 8% of its forests and has significantly increased the region’s conservation coverage to 26%. In the past 25 years, Bolivian towns like Sena have protected 10 million contiguous 25 million acres of Bolivia’s Amazon—an area nearly the size of Iceland.

Bolivian town Sena protects 1 million acres of Amazon rainforest More

California coast

First ever U.S. Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area declared in California

The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation, Resighini Rancheria, and Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community designated the first ever Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area (IMSA) in the U.S. along the northern California coast.
The tribes plan to steward nearly 700 square miles of their ancestral ocean and coastal territories from the California-Oregon border to Little River near the town of Trinidad, California using traditional ecological knowledge and management practices.

First ever U.S. Indigenous Marine Stewardship Area declared in California More

Golden mahseer fish swimming

Indigenous effort in Bangladesh helps reverse endangered fish’s slide to extinction

Unchecked logging and quarrying of rocks from streambeds in Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts led to springs drying up and populations of putitor mahseer fish, an endangered species, disappearing. A project launched in 2016 and backed by USAID and the UNDP is working with Indigenous communities to reverse this decline.
Now, as a result of these efforts, areas where forests have been conserved have seen the flow of springs stabilize and fish populations revive.

Indigenous effort in Bangladesh helps reverse endangered fish’s slide to extinction More

Amazon River Rainforest

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon fell by nearly 50% in 2023 compared to 2022

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva pledged to end deforestation by 2030 when he took office a year ago.
Preliminary data from national space agency Inpe showed 5,153 sq km of the Amazon were cleared in 2023, down from 10,278 sq km in 2022. Rainforest destruction had surged to a 12-year high under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon fell by nearly 50% in 2023 compared to 2022 More

Rainforest

Historic ruling in Ecuador returns ownership of ancestral land to the Siekopai people

For the first time, Ecuador has recognized an Indigenous population’s right to “possess a territory that has been declared a protected area.” Indigenous advocates hope this ruling can serve as a precedent for other Indigenous communities that are trying to regain control of their land.

Historic ruling in Ecuador returns ownership of ancestral land to the Siekopai people More

Mail-in ballot with pen

Colorado to be first state in the U.S. to expand automatic voter registration to tribes

Tribal communities in Colorado share some of the same registration and voting barriers as other rural communities across the U.S., like geographic isolation and unreliable mail delivery. But according to the Native American Rights Fund, tribal communities also commonly experience obstacles like language barriers, a lack of voter registration opportunities, and state laws in some parts of the country that block polling places on tribal lands.

Colorado to be first state in the U.S. to expand automatic voter registration to tribes More

Rainforest scene

Brazil launches $204 million drive to restore Amazon rainforest

Brazil’s national development bank BNDES has launched the Arc of Restoration program to restore degraded or destroyed woodland amounting to 23,160 square miles – an area nearly the size of Latvia – in the Amazon rainforest by 2030. It also seeks to capture 1.65 billion tons of carbon from the atmosphere by 2030.

Brazil launches $204 million drive to restore Amazon rainforest More