Young Indigenous women share powerful messages for COP27 leaders

Graphic that says cop27 youth and future generations
November 10, 2022
Category : General news

It is often the most vulnerable communities who must fight to be heard, while at the same time being the guardians of a vast amount of our world's natural resources. In September, the FSC Indigenous Foundation hosted a panel where young Indigenous women spoke out on issues affecting their communities.

When asked what messages they had for leaders at COP27, their voices rang out clear and strong. Here is what they had to say:

We need to bridge the gap between promises and the urgent need for action. We are no longer talking about the climate crisis of tomorrow. It’s today.

-Cindy Kobei (Kenya): Chair and Co-Founder of Tirap Youth Trust, formally known as Ogiek Youth Council

These hurricanes, all these natural phenomena that are happening, are just reactions to the harm we've done. These things don't just happen out of coincidence. They are happening because something is off balance. 

-Makanalani Gomes (Hawaii): Co-Chair of the UN Global Indigenous Youth Caucus

Indigenous Peoples have lived for thousands of years, taking care of Mother Earth in our own way. But all our work is being destroyed very quickly. 

-Su Hsin (Taiwan): Director of Papora Indigenous Development Association (PIDA)

Climate change is already in our territories. We are already living with its effects and impacts. There needs to be a proposal to change our economic model to deal with climate change.

-Veronica Yacabalquiej (Guatemala): Coordinator of the project "From the Farm to Fork" implemented by the IDEI Association

These young women are fearlessly taking leadership roles to preserve and promote the traditions of their peoples while speaking out for their rights and the struggle to protect the environment, especially in regard to the hardship brought on by climate change. They represent a new generation of agents of change. They are influencers for young people worldwide, for communities in general, and for social organizations and political actors.

FSC is committed to protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples through our standards. We know that their communities are crucial for helping forests thrive and we hope that the decision-makers at COP27 seek out Indigenous wisdom and stories, listen carefully, and work together to help us contribute to forests for all, forever.