Indigenous youth at COP27: From the village to the world

Ⓒ Katie Maehler

By , |2023-01-19T14:07:48+00:00January 18th, 2023|Biocultural Diversity, Climate, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America, Youth|Comments Off on Indigenous youth at COP27: From the village to the world

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Taily and CeriziMost of the media coverage of COP27, held in November 2022 in Egypt, concentrated on speeches by world leaders, and disappointingly familiar pledges to recommit to the 2015 Paris Agreement. However, there is a strong sense now that the youth movement has an ever-louder voice, and that youth activists will continue to push for decision-makers to be held accountable.

As Indigenous Terena youth, Cerizi Francelino and Taily Terena were invited to participate in COP27 and share their perspective from the Brazilian Pantanal and Cerrado, bringing their demands and contributions for the protection of the Earth and mitigation of the climate crisis.

“We must always be prepared; if we have the opportunity to take our message to the world, we must be there, even if we do not know how to speak the language they speak, we are the ones who must speak on behalf of our people”.

These are the words of our elders that we always carry with us. By attending COP27, we had the opportunity to connect with other peoples from all over the world, and exchange experiences, good practices in land management, and youth engagement.

Most importantly, our participation at COP27 enabled us to carry the message of our elders, sharing what we have learnt in our village, and thinking about caring for our home, our territory, our planet, and all the biodiversity in it.

Cerizi being interviewed by press.

Cerizi was travelling outside the country alone for the first time, without knowing any language other than Terena and Portuguese. But the importance of conveying the messages of the Terena, even across language barriers, is vital. Image © Katie Maehler

We need to decolonise the idea of thinking of biomes separately and understand the strong connection they have with each other.

We had the opportunity to share with the world that the Amazon in Brazil is not the only ecosystem we should be concerned about. To save the planet from the climate crisis, we need to understand that all biomes are interconnected and that we are the people who care for and protect the natural world.

Preserving traditional knowledge

Group selfie with young Indigenous youth with camera equipment with an older member of the Terena community.

Taily, Cerizi, and their collective work with their elders, promoting the good living of Terena youth with the village leadership through collective actions and implementation of projects that seek to retake the territory and the practice of our knowledge. Image © Inamatí Xâne

We are Cerizi Francelino and Taily Terena. We belong to the same Indigenous group in Brazil: the Terena. However, we come from different backgrounds due to the way colonisation has affected our people since contact with the Europeans in the 16th century.

Taily is an anthropologist and Indigenous person from an urban background, studying women and traditional knowledge. Cerizi is a geographer from the Taunay/Ipegue Indigenous Territory, specifically the Pânana village, studying territory and traditional knowledge.

Both of us belong to the Inamatí Xâne Terenoe Collective, an organisation created by Terena youth to maintain and preserve our traditional knowledge. We work with our elders to reclaim our territory and practices.

Exchange of voices at COP27