The youth advisor to the UN Secretary-General speaks on nature-based solutions at Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit, but says this won't be enough
She said indigenous and marginalised people had the knowledge to protect forests and restore the world’s relationship with nature. But such solutions could be effective only when the rights of indigenous and marginalised communities over their land, forests and territories were recognised and enforced, Soreng added.
Indigenous people should be given the right to refuse the so-called development projects that adversely affect people as well as the environment, she said.
Informed consent of “indigenous, traditional and local communities” should thus be at the core of nature-based solutions and climate policies through a participatory and binding way.
Soreng warned against green-washing and monoculture schemes. She said nature-based solutions should be implemented in a way that recognises and supports the traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous youth and promote their forest-based livelihood.
However, nature-based solutions cannot be used as the substitute for emissions reductions. Soreng thus urged countries to ramp up climate action and work towards net-zero emission by 2030 and not 2050 and ensure just transition in this process.
Rich nations must urgently deliver on their climate finance promise to help poorer countries adapt to climate change. The only way to move forward is to prioritise justice and the well-being of both nature and people, she said.
Soreng, who works to document, preserve and promote traditional knowledge and cultural practices of indigenous communities, was chosen in 2020 to be part of the UN’s seven-member global Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change.
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