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IGF 2020 - Day 8 - WS343 Imagining an internet that serves environmental justice

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the virtual Fifteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF), from 2 to 17 November 2020. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> PAULA MARTINS: Good morning.  Welcome, all.  We hope you can give us a few minutes, we're solving some final technical issues because we want you all to see each other and to be able to speak when you want to share your views so everyone will be promoted to speaker.  We're just finishing that and we can start.

>> Everybody is a panelist.

>> PAULA MARTINS: Thank you.  Welcome to Imagining an internet that serves environmental justice.  This is a workshop that's coorganized by APC, by blue link and others.  A few housekeeping announcements to begin with.  Since ‑‑ well, now that we have solved the problem, you can all see each other, you can always use the chat, but we will have a space for dialogue, for interaction, for questions at the end and we hope that you can open your mic and participate and you can see each other and take the word and open the mic and we'll have a space for that.

There is interpretation, it is only available in Zoom, in the live streaming, YouTube you will only hear the original audio and people will be speaking different languages.  Be aware of that.  Maybe a reminder perhaps to all of us, to speakers and participants, because we are using translation, because we have interpreter, we ask you to please speak slowly and clearly when you take the word.

I'll start by introducing myself, I'm Paula Martins, policy advocacy lead at APC, an international organization and a network of Civil Society organizations that was founded in 1990.  We're dedicated to empowering, supporting people working on Human Rights, protection of the environment through the strategic use of ICTs.  So environmental concerns are really part of the DNA of APC.  The concerns have been there since the creation of the organization.  This year, in 2020 given a renewed commitment from our members, including Blue Link and other, we decided to address with a specific focus, environment sustainability concerns and we have carried out activities to identify new priorities for working this area and to coordinate efforts with members and partners and this workshop, it is part of the efforts as well as the research that will soon be presented by my colleague Alan Finlay. 

With that, I pass on the words so you can introduce yourself.

>> IARA MOURA: Hello, everyone!  Good morning!  Here in Brazil it is still morning! 

Intervozes is a Civil Society organization striving for communication rights that existed for more than 17 years, and most recently we have come closer to APC.  We have integrated into the APC network and we have been working internally to solve issues related to environmental justice and how it is tied to communication.  We have been following up on tragedies and crimes that have been committed against the environment, most recently, the leakage of oil in the Brazilian coast and this is related to communication rights and freedom of expression.  I thank you for this opportunity.  I'm happy to be here sharing all of these notion was you.

We need to dare imagine an internet that contributes to the fight for environmental justice.

>> PAULA MARTINS: I don't know if Pavel Antonov ‑‑ he was having some problems to connect.  Just checking if he managed to?  I don't think so.  Okay.

I just wanted to share a little bit of what we have been doing today with you.  I'll be sharing very briefly some ideas regarding the thinking behind this workshop, the conversations we have been having on this area.  We'll pass on the word to Alan Finlay that will present research that we're doing with members and partners trying to map the environmental in a rights and we'll have interaction with invitees working on two questions and our idea is that our invitees will come up, bringing up key ideas to the table and we'll open up, have a conversation with you all.

In terms of how we have been framing this work, in the session, we'll be exploring the links between different rights and different rights movements.  Our goal is really to identify the crossroads that could allow us to start building a common agenda between different movements.  We'll make reference to different categories of rights.  We'll be talking here about Human Rights, environmental rights, digital rights.  In one way we consider that this division is actually artificial, digital rights are like the new face of Human Rights in our contemporary digital societies and by referring to digital rates we're talking about how technology and in particular ICTs impact on the manner in which we exercise our Human Rights both online and offline.

Environmental rights, they're not yet created in international law the same status as Human Rights but we believe they should and we call on the UN in particularly the UN Human Rights Council to do so.  The truth is, many of the challenges that impact on these categories of rights, they're intertwined, especially as they effect individuals and communities in situations of vulnerability and marginalization.  These communities are always the most impacted by violations of human, digital and environmental rights.  Take, for example, indigenous groups in the Amazon, they're struggling for the protection of their lands, for their forest, for their culture and in doing so, they have several of their human and digital rights violated, they are threatened, many are killed, they have no access to communications to tell the world about what's going on, to share the stories, many are surveilled, and what we think that the relationship between technology and the environment, it is quite complex, while technologies many times are seen as the solution, as the best tool to face climate change and environmental degradation, increased production of ICTs are contributing in harmful ways to impact land on mining and as already mentioned, leading to violations of Human Rights, including labor related violations and many others.  Really for us, Human Rights, digital rights, environmental rights, they should be taught as a continuum.  However, of course, the movements working on this different area, they have not always joined forces and we have considered these enormous areas we can face, we cannot tackle them in isolation any longer, the question, it is how can this movement overcome the challenges of speaking a different language, of working on different policy spaces, of using different strategies, and actually managing to work on a shared agenda.  This is really what we want to discuss here today.  We're seeking to identify the foundations for a rights‑based governance to the internet that takes into consideration environmental rights.  In order to proceed with our conversation, I'm going to stop again and just see if Pavel managed to join us?  No.

Let me introduce you to a tool we'll be using today, as I said, we'll open up with two questions that we'll present to speakers, but we want you all also to reflect on these questions, maybe if you could share the screen now and present our tool..

This will take you to a shared drive and then you will have the two questions we'll discuss today, how are the environmental rights intersecting with digital rights.  Very broad questions.  What we want with the first one, can we go to the following slide?  We want to identify in concrete terms how the rights are reinforcing each other, how they're conflicting with each other, there is a potential for conflict and the next one, if you would like to think of other ways that they're intersecting with each other, you use the third slide and you can just take one of these post‑its and write the idea in the post‑its. 

What we would like do, you go to this tool, you insert your own comments and then while you're doing that, you look at the other comments that are there, maybe you agree, think that there is a very good point that was already raised by someone else.

We invite you to drag one of the signs that you have on the bottom, and you cast your vote next to the ‑‑ we're just showing the plus one, I agree with that point so that we can really collect priorities.

Please just show ‑‑ just include your own ideas, but also if you would like to reinforce, support other people's ideas, please use the plus sign and we can also have these understandings about commonalities and priorities and then the second question.

Let's go to the second question.

It is how can digital rights and environmental defenders work together towards shared priorities and here we again have different slides.  What we thought about, what we thought we could explore in the first slide is really the different levels and we could work together, you take the post‑it, you drag it, you try to identify if this is something that they could be doing at the global, regional, local level and again, you have the plus sign there, so if you want to agree, with other people's ideas, you have that option.  Could you move to the next slide?  So we always give you the possibility as well if you want to use another ‑‑ you want to make the comments irrespective of this, you use this slide, and you just leave your messages there.

You can always copy and paste the slides.  If they're over, we have the final slide at the end that has a number of extra post‑it, you just copy, paste, cut and paste.

We have shared the link.

What we will do now, we'll really while we're listening to our speakers, we invitatory next, to take note of any key points that you hear and really engage using this tool with the conversation that will be taking place among them and now I can see that Pavel has joined us.  Welcome!  I just explained the tool and introduced the questions.  It is over to you for introducing your speaker, yourself, moving on.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: Hello, everyone.

I'm Pavel Antonov.  I'm representing BlueLink.  The Bulgaria Civil Society network.  As you see, I'm having significant troubles handling technology which my organization is a member of promoting for the last 22 years!  I'm particularly excited to be at this workshop because it is a next step in a process which has taken as I said over two decades for us, BlueLink started as a network for Civil Society, environmental groups in Bulgaria, back in the time when the internet was a very new, exciting opportunity for all of us, and we thought it would provide the solution for most of our problem, protection and making our societies more sustainable.  This didn't quite work like this, as you know, over the past ten years we have seen an interesting new shift which is in a few words, it is that we have unprecedented access to technology as citizens, as activists, as users and we have really unfortunately, unprecedented created our impact, we have ‑‑ in the green movement, we're working with, we're experiencing signature pressures and difficulties in the internet and information technology, they're not providing the solution we expected.  Here we are, back with APC, thank you to APC for making this happen, for making another step in the process which took off almost two years ago now for a second time as more than ten years ago we already had our green and IT initiative and we were already then taking, and now we're back on to the conceptualization and we had Working Group or a discussion within APC and then we had previous IGF that was a turning point for us when we could discuss with members and external partners the issues and then ideas started to shape that we should be looking at the points where digital rights and environmental rights crossed each other and we should look analytically at the various aspects of the crossroads.  This is technological crossroads, this is also policy crossroads and even crossroads in terms of how do we as Civil Society on both sides of this divide support each other.

We had two events at the right com giving us more specific input and here we are, I'm glad to say that APC has done a marvelous job and we have already processes in place, analytical, research process, which we're happy to be able to hear the progress of.  I'm looking to find the workshop description and I will tell you in the details, as I was asked to present the speakers here as probably already heard is Shawna Finnegen from the IPC and you have heard from Paula, a policy expert of the APC, but the second coorganizer is Intervozes and among speaker, we have Iara Moura of Intervozes, we have Maryellen Crisostomo, representing the National Coordination of Articulation of Black Rural Quilombla Communities, and Alan Finlay, the researcher leading the analytical process I mentioned about, the open research, we have Leandro Navarro, the board member of APC and representing Pangea, a member of APC in Catalonia, and ‑‑ yeah, Paula, I already mentioned, Paula from APC.

>> PAULA MARTINS: We have done a first round of introductions, now we could move on to Alan.

Can you see that?  The slide?

>> ALAN FINLAY: Essentially, APC asked me to do a mapping of the environmental sector.  I'm calling it the environmental sector but I'm fully aware there is political problems with the word sector because of the implications because of economic structure, so on, but just as a convenes.  We wanted to understand better how the sector works because as explained, APC has been involved in environment activism for many years and some members at different levels but there is a gap in the macro understanding of how the sector works.  The research I have been doing includes interviews and surveys with APC members and environmental organizations.  Just for this IGF session we thought it may be good to present some of the ideas of the different groups in the environmental sector, what I will do now.

Essentially, I'm going to suggest that there are 6 groups, this is from the interviews.  This is not my analysis, it is what is an analysis from the interviews.

Essentially, the six groups, they can be distinct groups or they can be cross overs.  You need to sort of reboot at both levels.

The first one, obviously, the environmental justice movement.

The key issue around that, to understand, it is NGO, activists, there are strong networks and organization, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, those are two of the biggest, most powerful.  Greenpeace is not a network organization, but very powerful, friends of the earth is a network organization and the biggest and most important grouping is the Indigenous Peoples and local community groups and that is essentially when we talk about the environmental justice movement, we talk about those groupings.  The other actors in that space, the governments, the UN, big business, it is a major important other actor besides government.  The UN pays a convening role between the two groups or of the three groups rather.

The big business, it is the agri businesses, they have been described as very legal and lots of legal power and many behind it because it costs lots of special interests involved.

At the UN level, the thing we need to understand, it is at the level of conventions, agreement, it is very, very structured.  It was described as an activist, there isn't really ‑‑ of course, there is work to be done, as always, it is a very structured space and the UN play as very structured role in that space, to the point that because this is an antagonistic space with environmental justice movements the UN separates business and the environmental justice organizations and Indigenous Peoples organizations in the global forums.

This is a first obvious difference between the internet governance space and the environmental space because in this level, they don't like to use the word multistakeholder, they don't use it.  The UN talks about stakeholders and other groups and the primary reason for that, Indigenous Peoples, local communities insist that they're right holders, not stakeholders because they insist they don't have the same power as big business and they don't want to be called stakeholders.  We, in the internet governance space, including the IGF, of course, talk about the multistakeholder environment, promote that environment, certainly when it comes to environmental justice, that's not a word frequently used and it is deliberately not used.

As I say, at the global level, the groups, they're kept apart.  The UN apparently has prevents for businesses and NGOs, it is not the mixed space like the IGF and I was told by one of the activists that an event like the IGF, at the global, the regional level, would be virtually impossible, including at the sponsorship level from business.

Structured at the global level, the regional level, it is messy and diverse and one of the reasons, it is not all countries are assigned to the same agreements but probably more important, it is that with technology and the internet, this is a general statement, it tends to come from the global downwards, right, the technologies get developed in the Silicon Valleys around the world, within China, within the U.S., Japan, the first experience in adoption happens in developed countries and as a result the first advocacy and the first policy directives and the first policy work and legislative work tends to happen at that level.  Of course, there is the reverse that can happen and we all have many examples of that, of the general trends.  It seems to be a top‑down adoption of technology and of policy.  A clear example of this, it is the general do the protection regulations in the E.U. around privacy which are used by many African states as model templates when developing their data privacy legislation.  Within the environment, it is not a technology, it is not a standardized technology as much as we can call the internet standardized.  It is about the environment.  Of course, it is about biology, zoology, flora, fora, animal, people at the local level.  That means countries have different issues that are not necessarily always replicated in other regions.  At the regional level, the issues are different and there are some issues that don't make it to the global level.  Environmental advocacy, it is a bottom up approach necessity of what they're talking about.  This is an interesting dynamic that it would be interesting to explore more here..

This is strong amongst environmental justice groups and there is some isolation, groups like friends of the earth play a pivotal role and the strawberry effect, it is that's how the network seems to work and I was given an example of an ordinance banning banana spraying in Costa Rica was linked to other issues and it was done by friends of the earth.  They play a very, very important role as a network.

The second thing, the conservation grouping, they could ‑‑ there are different organizations that are powerful, the wildlife national fund, conservation international, Interpol, conservation, it deals with crime too and this is another distinction that you need to think to what extent corruption, crime, law enforcement is relevant in this space.

You see things like this in the industries.  It is described, what is heavily described to me as a pale male sector and this is because it is sort of to some degree it grows out of the colonial past of the idea of conservation, protecting natural resources in Africa, for example, perhaps even in the Amazon region, colleagues can tell me more about that, there are movements more and more into areas of local livelihood, community projects, there is community engagement but it is a multistakeholder environment, they don't have problems with the environmental justice groups, governments, they lack the space because there is no call for systematic change and yet they can be seen to be doing good work, of course.  But they have the panda branding on the government logos and apparently it is not uncommon for government employees to go work for the world wildlife fund and this cofunding happening and some levels of conflict between conservation and environmental justice, for example, they may be researching snake venom in a conservation area but environmental justice people will raise issues about piracy.

This is a multistakeholder environment as we use the term in the internet governance, community, it involves community, entrepreneurs, this is the language, social responsibility, a strong services industry, it is a very expensive industry, conservation is very, very expensive.  The third grouping, one that we all ‑‑  the third grouping, it is university based and conservation groups and they are apparently not strongly networked, I just spoke to someone in the region, it is more about who you know in universities, the language, it tends to be similar, but they do education, they work through education and persuasion in that sway.  It is not policy advocacy but at the research, trying to persuade local level governments to adopt environmental friendly approaches.  You can see the language in circular economy, open dot, sharing the information.

The social science, a crosscutting issue, mixed groups gathered around issues of the Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, land and land use and some new movement of the indigenous sector coming in and Indigenous People coming in that issue of land, land use and that's a mixed group, climate action network is a good example.  Then you have the legal and environmental justice lawyers and the youth groups which are the Gretas and her alliances, they tend to be more and more in the environmental justice side.  I leave it at that.  Hopefully this is useful to sort of not think of the environmental sector as what is it about but how it is different and distinct groups working in that area.

Thank you.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: Thank you for the presentation.

I'm particularly happen to see it shaping and sort of providing more specific inputs on the discussion.  I need to introduce one more speaker that will be from the Civil Society African Group and that's Yunusa Ya'u, as it seems from my plan, I should pass him the flurry now.

>> YUNUSA YA'U: Thank you very much.  I'm Yunusa Ya'u from Nigeria.

>> PAULA MARTINS: I think you had the word to not only introduce yourself but to go on and address the two questions.  We have a round of answers from each of the speakers and they'll choose between the two questions that were presented before.

>> YUNUSA YA'U: Thank you for that clarification.

I think I would like to address the first question, the intersection between the digital rights and environmental rights.  For me, there is actually no two distinct different rights.  It is a question of emphasis.  I would like to use three different instances to show this when we consider discovered rights and what we consider to be environmental rights.  Environmental rights, it is actually about an issue of scalability, how people are in a healthy environment, the last one is access to information, access to education.

Given that the education and information, it is increasingly migrating online, people can only have education through access to digital means and also have information to digital means, it means that if education is a right, then the tools to assess education and to assess information actually are rights and therefore at the core of having access to education, it is actually the right to access to digital tools, access to digital technology, so forth.  Therefore, we kind of talked about the ‑‑ we talked about the environmental rights without ensuring that you have access to education and access to information.

Secondly, environmental rights, it is the citizens participation in terms of decision making as to the environment and they should invoke what should be taken and so forth.

This is really a question of participation.  We know that today participation is digitally available.  So being included digitally, it means people can be able to participate in decision‑making processes, and once you're excluded, you're not able to participate.  Therefore, the right to access, the right to participation, it is central to the issue of how we manage and how we live in the environment.  You can look at the participation and the decision making on the environment and the Human Rights participation under the tools for participation and decision making.

There's a question about affordable and clean energy, again, it is a question of choices.  If people are excluded in their perspectives of those issues, they're also exterior included, the issue of environmental justice, it is about inclusivity and that's central to digital rights.  So for the rules of the environmental rights, it is actually the issue of digital rights and so the issue of separation between the two, they're just simply a question of emphasis in terms of two different sectors for people in the environmental movement and emphasizing the digital rights, that's different and those people in digital rights, they look at the differences.  It is just about kind of what is the platform Spectrum in terms of articulating the rights and incentives.

Thank you.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: Thank you.

Do we need to follow a certain order?  Shall we just invite the next panelist ‑‑

>> PAULA MARTINS: Feel free to choose the other.  Just note that we're a bit late so I will ask everybody to stay to the 5 minutes so that we still have time for a brief description at the end.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: Let's not move any more time.

Shall I ask Leandro Navarro to come in?

>> LEANDRO NAVARRO: Hey.

I'm Leandro Navarro.  I'm a researcher at the University in Barcelona and also cofounder of Pangea since 1993 and board member of APC.

I'm just going to try to give an answer to the first question.  You know the ICTs technologies, it is unfortunately part of the problem of the environmental problem and also potentially might be part of the solution.  I would say that our rights, when talking about rights, this is human‑centric, we're the subject of the rights, either the digital rights, the environmental rights and we see and worry about nature as our environment so obviously it is ‑‑ so the natural environment, it has a clear impact on the Rights of humans in different contexts and it can enhance or reduce the rights.  It can increase or reduce inequality, discrimination depending how it is applied and we can increase or reduce our environmental footprint.  We know that we have a problem because for instance all these months we're regulated to online only and this is because we interacted in a certain way with our natural environment.  We are suffering the effects of that.  I wanted to share with you, like if you want to take a look, this diagram, this economic model, it says that we live in a small region in a safe, justice space for humanity sitting between the minimum social boundaries, determined by Human Rights, and the maximum planetary boundaries that are defining the environmental limits and to me, one way to see how we are trying to use the digital environment to be sustainable, it is this nut some way to be in this safe, just space, in our life, it requires a kind of self‑regulating system that maintains the conditions between the boundaries for life on the planet and this space, it can be seen as the right to nature as a global public electric good, something that's for everyone, he cannot exclude anybody to be a part of and enjoy this natural environment, but we have realized that there are limits and it needs to be carefully governed as global comments.

Our resource system, it is limited, it can be congested, so we have to make sure that we stay within the social and planetary boundaries.  Since there are both the social and the planetary boundary, we just can't call those rights, therefore, we have to work together to make sure that this self‑regulating system works effectively so that's my point regarding the first question.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: Thank you.  Thank you.

Let's move on with some of the other speakers that haven't commented.

Would Iara Moura be willing to join in at this stage?

>> IARA MOURA: Yes.  I would like to contribute too.

Well, I wrote part of my contribution here in the chat to make better use of our time and not to lose time.  Okay.  Now I'm going to ask your permission to read this, what I wrote here.  Let's think about the two sides, how environmental rights and how social rights and internet governance is interconnected, how do they learn from each other, let's say?  There are many conflicts when it comes to access to water, to land, to those which are called the public goods.  There is also a lot involved in the fight against racism and against patriarchy and so there have been 29 groups organized over time in Brazil, all with their own history and characteristics, there can be commonalities.  There are big company was mega projects financed by foreign capital in the food industry, agri business, infrastructure projects, oil extraction, and all of those creates conflicts and the way that companies reduce and reproduce their lives every day.

Within this context, the internet, ICTs, they're a tool meant to improve the capacities, to improve the ability of the communities, to tell their own stories and to report the crimes committed by the governments and the private sector, however, the use of ICTs also creates many challenges regarding autonomy, there is also a greater state surveillance and private sector surveillance over the territories, and this deepens the inequality caused by gender, class, race.

So the way that the internet has been structured, the governance, the economic interests that shape social media, for instance, internet structures, they create further gaps in society and create gaps in the access of public goods and also only promote extractive activities and that goes against the way of living of traditional communities.  It is all based on profitability and the violation of Human Rights and exploitation of people who live in rural areas like Indigenous Peoples and black communities in Brazil.  There is a long history of all of this happening in Brazil.

Organization concepts can inspire our agenda to fight for digital rights and internet governance.  The idea of consent and self‑reliance, the previous consultation process which needs to provide more information to people are key when we talk about internet governance.  All of these concepts and practices are part of environmental policies and they need to be a part of policies that will have an impact on traditional communities.

Beyond the plans to ensure one way of connecting, and one model, 1World model, rather traditional communities in Brazil can provide different insights to create different models that go against this speech which involves only one development model based on economy and based on racism and based on the patriarchy.

The monitoring between Intervozes and Connect, with 29 members of the communities in 11 states of the five regions in Brazil, it points out that the radio and the television are the means through which the communities gather information and then comes the internet.  Most people have low access to the internet, they have limited mobile data plans or they have prepaid packages so they are not having the necessary access to the internet or the ideal type of access that they could have.

We need to acknowledge the way in which traditional communities connect and we also need to promote the use of their own technologies that have been created for many years.  We're talking about satellite communication often wiring, all of these technological things, all of this is very important.

It is only to be implemented when there is informed consent and we also need to remember that the water, land and the internet as well, they are public goods.

This is not rather an answer to the question but it does provide interesting insights.  Thank you.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: We have one more speaker on the list who didn't provide input, and that would be Maryellen Crisostomo.

>> MARYELLEN CRISOSTOMO: Good morning!  Yes.  I would like to speak as well. 

My name is Maryellen Crisostomo, I'm Quilombolan, I'm from a state located in the Amazon and I'm a part of communication group for the rural black communities in Brazil.  It is a national coordination of articulation of black, rural, Quilombolic communities and I'm a student of the Portuguese language and I'll talk a little bit about what CONAQ has done for this Quilombolic movement in Brazil.  In 1996 in an evaluation meeting, it was the first Quilombolic rural group meeting carried out, the preliminary commission created the CONAQ, our national coordination, whose main purpose is to position itself as a social movement.  So CONAQ has been fighting as an institution for 25 years.  According to our finding document, the history of Quilombose is a history of resistant guaranteeing the existence of thousands of Quilomboses in Brazil.  It is difficult but we have had many achievements.  Resistance is the key of our process.  This is a historical process which is continuous.  There is a bifocal resistance to the past and the present, this is an element factor of our current organization.  Our organization is a non‑profit organization that represents most Quilombohic communities in Brazil, we have representatives from the Quilombohic communities from 23 states in the country.  (Listing the states). 

Our goals are the following, to fight for guarantees of collective use of territory, implementation of Sustainable Development models, implementation of public policies that consider the organizations of Quilombola communities and that are consistent with the Quilombola way of living.  We also prioritize the autonomy of Quilombola with women and want to promote participation of young people in Quilombola and promoting common use of territory, natural resources and the harmonious co‑existence with the environment.

Our 1988 constitution defined Quilombola as a traditional peoples from Brazil.  However, these rights that we're subject to, they're not always guaranteed, and there are many violations to the Human Rights, only in 1995 did we have a limited territory for the Quilombola community in Brazil which was contemplated by the 1988 constitution.

From then on, there's been very little progress.  The national geography and statistic institute in Brazil identified in 2019 that there are more than 5,000 Quilombola communities and we are present in 33% of Brazilian municipalities.  However, only over 270 territories have been reserved for these communities.  Without those reserve, without the territories, it is very difficult to fight for our rights and so the Brazilian government, they have cut the budget for these communities for years, which makes the protection of the territories even more complex.  In the face of all of, this our territories, they're now being invaded and our leader, they're being murdered in the name of agri business expansion in Brazilian territory.  Without the reserves, the territory is not possible to protect flora and fauna around us, the internet and ICTs, they're essential to our resistance process because it is only through them that we can show our level of marginalization caused by the state policies.  CONAC itself has monitored the COVID‑19 pandemic in the Quilombola territories and it is very difficult, in a very poor way probably, but through the ICTs tools we have at our disposal.  This is only because the Brazilian government has not shown any of the impact of COVID‑19 in our territory.  There are more than 44,000 people who have been infected by COVID‑19 so far and many deaths.  The Brazilian government has excluded the Quilombola communities from this new law promoted to ensure access to health system and it has been more than 60 days since we denounced them, however we have not gotten any reparations and we presented this to the Supreme Court in Brazil in the hopes that the justice system would help us during the pandemic.  However, 60 days have also gone by, and we have not reached any decisions, any agreements.

Even if Quilombolas don't have access to the internet as mentioned, at the beginning of the pandemic, alongside our partners and with other members of our network, we tried to identify who had access to communication, who had access to the internet and we realized that there is very little access to means of communication and actually the survey was carried out online and so there were few respondents.  We know that these are the only ways to which CONAQ and other civil society organization cans reach the societies during the pandemic, you have to mitigate the effects of the COVID‑19 while the Brazilian government is still rejecting our Quilombola concerns and demands.

In certain states, there are even more challenges and there have been blackouts and there has been no power for eight days.  This happens randomly and the only way to ensure that this does not happen is to put pressure on the capital government and the capitals of the state government.  There are people with no access to power or to communication tools.  The delays in the solutions coming from the government causes the Quilombola communities to fear a backlash when the situation comes back to normal.

We ask the international community to pay attention to what's happening in these communities in Brazil, especially the states where there are power outages and the Quilombola lives matter, our slogan is no lives should be left behind so that's what we need to do, we they had to keep fighting and I thank you very much for giving us this space to talk about this.

>> PAVEL ANTONOV: Thank you very much.

This is shocking in one way and also quite valuable perspective which I believe we need to be exposed to much more often to set our minds right on how communities, indigenous communities, environmental groups can really benefit from the technology.  We have little time left, as I can see, I just want to mark two policy principles which I believe could be common in digital rights and in the environmental protection, environmental protection, we have something well‑known over the years as the precautionary principle, it is a principle which has no policy and technology should be in police before it is proven environmentally safe.  It is quite controversial because the industry dislikes it.  I believe this is a principle, digital rights could employ too and another, another interesting aspect, quite relevant with the debates we have here and in other countries about possibly the taxation of the information and technology industry because of its negative impacts on local economies and local communities by resources and so on.

This is environmental taxation, that's another shared principle.  Those are two principles which I will mark on the post‑its as a possible common area and we have more such principles in touching elements.

 

Contact Information

United Nations
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