After decades of waiting, Indigenous peoples are finally getting a say in global conservation policy

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TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images The General Assembly of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, will gather next week to shape a collective strategy to protect the world’s increasingly at-risk flora and fauna. Representatives from more than 217 nations and territories, 18,000 experts, and 1,400 NGOs, businesses, and scientific institutions will vote on recommendations and motions that will mobilize money and build political momentum for global conservation efforts. And now, for the first time in the IUCN’s 73-year history, Indigenous peoples will finally get a seat at the table. Twenty-three Indigenous organizations , representing groups from every continent, will join this year’s IUCN’s General Assembly as members, meaning that they can introduce motions; vote for or against resolutions and recommendations; and participate in working groups. “We’ve been fighting for 40 years to be included in the U.N.’s international system and other international spaces to defend the identity, culture, and lands of Indigenous peoples,” said José Gregorio Diaz Mirabal , who leads the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin, or COICA, a group that congregates the biggest national Indigenous associations from nine Amazonian countries. “[We know that] if we don’t go [to international meetings], […]

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