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Grijalva takes Glasgow: Raising indigenous concerns at UN climate conference

Tucson congressman plans to chastise leaders for neglecting native representation

U.S. Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva is heading to Glasgow, Scotland, where he plans to reprimand the United Nations summit on climate change because indigenous people are poorly represented.

“The United Nations are, in some ways, repeating the same tragic mistakes that created the climate crisis to begin with,” Grijalva said in a news release. “Climate change is the direct result of industrialized nations exploiting our world’s natural resources and violently stealing land from indigenous and poor peoples. It’s difficult to clean up the mess we created while the global vaccine apartheid and the high cost of travel prevent the full participation of those same Indigenous and poor communities"

Grijalva also intends to discuss indigenous success stories in resource management, his office said.

A study published in September, led by Dr. Neil Dawson of the University of East Anglia, documented the success rates of indigenous land and water conservation strategies across the world.

It assessed the outcomes of 169 conservation projects ranging from reforestation in Taiwan to watershed restoration and wetlands preservation in Africa.

The world could learn from these peoples, Dawson's study found. Native people manage or have rights to 40 percent of the world's protected lands, which hold 80 percent of the Earth's biodiversity and a quarter of the above-ground stored carbon.

Despite this, policies and management structures in many conservation projects overlook indigenous expertise and legal rights.

Grijalva serves as Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, which oversees U.S. federal lands, mining, fisheries, energy development and tribal communities.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva will travel to Glasgow to address the concerns of indigenous communities and how they have been under-represented at the climate conference.