Humankind and Nature


"Revitalize the Roots" at the 2024 United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigeneous Issues

UNPFII 2024 Opening ceremony - Azimuth World Foundation's team with Dominica Zhu (Global Wisdom Collective), Carson Kiburo (Jamii Asilia Centre) and Eric Kimalit (Endorois Welfare Council)

We joined our partners Global Wisdom Collective and Jamii Asilia Centre in New York to co-host a side-event on preserving Indigenous knowledge systems.

It's been a few weeks since our team returned from New York after attending this year's United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations Headquarters.

Similar to last year, we were invited by our partners Global Wisdom Collective and Jamii Asilia Centre to co-host an official side-event focused on the achievements of the Revitalize the Roots project, which Azimuth has been supporting since 2022. 

In this highlights video from the event, you can hear contributions from Global Wisdom Collective's Dominica Zhu, Jamii Asilia Centre's Carson Kiburo, Endorois elder Eric Kimalit (chairman of the Endorois Welfare Council) and Azimuth World Foundation's president Mariana Marques:

The first iteration of this remarkable intergenerational knowledge-sharing project - Revitalize the Roots: Bikaptorois - was done in partnership with the Endorois community, in Kenya, where Carson is from.

After attending the graduation ceremony in Lake Bogoria back in February, we were incredibly proud to once again join GWC and JAC as they shared their project's achievements with members of other Indigenous and ally organizations in New York.

One of the main goals of the side-event was to engage with other organizations working on knowledge revitalization, as Dominica and Carson plan to bring their insights from Global Wisdom Collective's project in Kenya to other communities that could benefit from the Revitalize the Roots model.

Hindou Omarou Ibrahim is elected as Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Ms. Ibrahim is pictured here with Darío Mejía Montalvo, Chair of UNPFII from 2022 to 2024.

Walking into the United Nations to attend the Permanent Forum, it's impossible not to think of the generations of Indigenous leaders and activists that fought to have a seat at this table.

During the opening ceremony, we heard how Indigenous Peoples are at the forefront of climate and biodiversity solutions, how representation in decision-making settings is growing but still far from where it should be, and how the work of Indigenous youth (this year's main theme) is an essential part of building a more sustainable and just world.

Hindou Omarou Ibrahim was elected as the Forum's Chair, and the opening ceremony included contributions from Bolivia's Vice President David Choquehuanca Céspedes, Brazil's Indigenous Peoples Minister Sônia Guajajara, and the President of the UN General Assembly Dennis Francis.

Here are some powerful words from Ms. Ibrahim's speech at the opening ceremony:

Collectively, we must show up for the younger generations. This generation that is the first one to have never known a world without the severe effects of climate change, and that face, everywhere, the mass extinction of biodiversity, whether they are in forest, in the glacial, on the islands or the savannah, in the deserts and mountains, in all our ecosystems. These youth are living in a world that is more and more violent and are urging us to build peace and reconciliation. A world where discriminations and inequalities are rising again. Where the members of the United Nation are failing to implement the SDGs. Where human rights and Indigenous Peoples' rights are threatened by States, companies, everywhere. A world where our homes are still under the threat of land grabbing and extraction of the resources that are now considered critical minerals. We must admit that this world is scary for young Indigenous Peoples. They will be at the heart of our session here in the Permanent Forum, and they will be our motivation. This is the way we will honor the memory of our elders.

by Hindou Omarou Ibrahim, Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigneous Issues
Brazil's Indigenous Peoples Minister Sônia Guajajara addresses the Permanent Forum during this year's opening ceremony.

We return from our week at the Permanent Forum with so many great memories and inspired by the connections we made. To have the chance to listen to Indigenous Peoples' voices and learn from their achievements and struggles in this setting fills us with gratitude and energy to improve and cement our allyship.

Indigenous Environmental Network's Side-Event at the UNPFII.

Some of the most impressive presentations this year came from Indigenous-led organizations that are denouncing false climate solutions that curb Indigenous Peoples' rights, and demanding that Human Rights are at the center of the green transition.

We can't recommend enough that you follow the work of the SIRGE coalition and of the Indigenous Environmental Network. SIRGE coalition has done remarkable work with European lawmakers, to ensure that Free, Prior, and Informed Consent provisions are added to European climate and energy transition policy.

SIRGE Coalition and FIMI's Side-Event at the UNPFII 2024.

We also come out of the Permanent Forum with a strengthened conviction regarding the importance of land tenure for the fulfillment of Indigenous Rights.

Both through side event presentations and our conversations with experts and Indigenous leaders from all over the world, it's very clear that land ownership by Indigenous communities is essential to achieving self-determination regarding climate solutions, to end marginalization and assimilation, to guarantee food security, and to begin addressing the many crosscutting issues faced by these communities today.

Indigneous Youth Leaders from the Amazon in an event organized by CONFENIAE (Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon)

Another highlight of this year's Forum was the focus on the extraordinary achievements of Indigenous youth from all over the world: their energy and creativity, paired with access to digital technologies, have completely transformed the Indigenous movement worldwide and created new bridges and alliances.

Some of the most powerful testimonies came from the Amazon, such as those by the president of the Waorani Nation Juan Bai, Waorani youth activist Inehue Nenquimo and Taily Terena from the Brazilian Amazon. The Waorani Nation is one of the members of the Ceibo Alliance, whose Indigenous Land Defense School project Azimuth has supported.

Another highlight was hearing Christine Kandie (director of one of our Endorois partner organizations, EIWEN) and Sylvia Kokunda (Batwa leader and ABEG director, who we recently interviewed for our podcast) discuss the role of Indigenous Youth as agents of change, during a side event organized by Minority Rights Group International.

We were also present during the launch of the latest edition of The Indigenous World, published by the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA). This guide remains an incredibly useful resource for anyone interested in Indigenous Rights, with its specific articles focusing on Indigenous communities in each country.

Lastly, we wish  to highlight Roberto Múkaro Borrero and Rochelle Diver's remarkable Project Access. We had the chance to spend time with them and learn more about how this project has provided training and capacity building for Indigenous youth attending the Permanent Forum, allowing these young leaders to navigate and truly take advantage of this space.

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