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Rivers of Peace: the rights of nature, biodiversity conservation and peacebuilding in Chocó, Colombia

Environment Themed

What’s on offer?

In this panel, we explore how agendas of natural habitat restoration and biodiversity protection may be interwoven with peacebuilding efforts and issues of socio-environmental justice. The panel speaks directly to the UK COP26 Presidency campaign theme of safeguarding and restoring natural habitats and ecosystems to preserve the planet’s biodiversity. It will introduce attendees to debates around cutting-edge socio-legal innovations on biocultural rights and the rights of nature. We localise international environmental debates in the context of Chocó, where demand for gold fuels armed conflict and the destruction of the environment. These global forces not only hold catastrophic consequences for the planet’s biodiversity and ecosystems, they threaten the survival of Afro and indigenous communities in Chocó.

What’s it about?

Chocó, Colombia is a global biodiversity hotspot. The rainforest region holds an estimated two thousand species of flora and fauna. Chocó’s unique biodiversity, though, is under attack. Mechanised alluvial gold mining has caused extensive deforestation, destruction of river channels and pollution. For local Afro and indigenous riverine communities, the destruction of their ancestral lands also represents an existential threat. The mining has devastated traditional subsistence livelihoods and caused public health problems in communities. It fuels conflict in Chocó, with armed groups fighting for control of illicit gold revenues and imposing violent rule over communities. 

Who’s leading the event?

Mo Hume - Professor of Latin American Politics, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow

Maryury Mosquera - Secretary of the Technical Committee of The Guardians of the Atrato

Viviana Gonzalez - Lawyer at SIEMBRA, Colombia

Alejandro Perez - Programme Manager at Caritas Colombia

Martha Rubiano - Secretary-General of Caritas Norway

Open to

The panel is open to all. Given that the discussion will cover aspects of the armed conflict and human rights abuses, we would recommend that attendees are aged over 16

Of particular interest to

Our panel discussion will be of particular interest to groups interested in environmental activism and its intersections with questions of social justice.

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