Indigenous Leaders on Tour in Europe
In October 2017 in Bonn, Germany, indigenous leaders from Mesoamerica began an advocacy tour through Europe, gaining allies to save the forests- so crucial to curb and mitigate the effects of climate change. The tour was held a few weeks before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change COP23, as part of the campaign #GuardiansOfTheForest.
8 leaders of different communities and peoples of Mesoamerica, pertaining to the Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests, participated in this initiative in conjunction with representatives of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), the Alliance of Indigenous Peoples of the Archipelago, Indonesia (AMAN) and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB).
Through the Guardians of the Forest campaign, the Mesoamerican delegation received trainings on digtal advocacy and carried out storytelling actions, thus contributing to the development of the global indigenous movement.
With stops in France, England, Belgium, The Netherlands and Berlin, the delegation shared with European leaders their struggles against threats from mining, fuel extraction, illegal logging, construction of hydroelectric dams, penetration roads and other mega projects.
Global attention for Mesoamerica
The #GuardiansOfTheForest tour generated global attention for the cause of the Indigenous Peoples that inhabit the forests of Mesoamerica, achieving important meetings and exchanges with leaders of opinion and generators of public policies, such as Amnesty International, the European Parliament, the French Parliament, among others. The indigenous organizations that participated in the tour broadcasted a manifest that was replicated by important media and news agencies around the world.
CEA provided funds for Mesoamerican organizations to be part of this tour, and it also supported the participation of young people who strengthened their leadership and communication skills with this transformative experience. As a result of these installed capacities, members of the Mesoamerican delegation that participated in this campaign continue to lobby to make visible Indigenous Peoples' role in forests preservation and climate change mitigation. In 2008 for example, they participated in the Global Climate Action Summit, at San Francisco, California.
The Mesoamerican Alliance of Peoples and Forests (AMPB for its Spanish acronym), is a platform that brings together organizations of Indigenous Peoples and rural forestry communities from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico, rooted in the most dense forest of the region.