With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the link between environmental damage and pandemics has again been established. Many indigenous peoples have warned over decades about increasing threats to natural heritage so important for their survival. Through their traditional knowledge and their relationship to nature, they have long known that environmental dilapidation can trigger disease.
We are still in the midst of the combat against the spread of the pandemic, and in this context it is more important than ever to listen to indigenous peoples, and safeguard their languages, culture and traditional knowledge. Their territories are home to the vast majority of the world's biodiversity : they can tell us a lot about how to rebalance our relationship with nature and reduce the risk of future pandemics. The International Indigenous Peoples Forum for World Heritage also addresses the close links between nature and culture, biological and cultural diversity.
Indigenous peoples are looking for their own solutions to this pandemic. They take action and use traditional knowledge and practices such as voluntary isolation and closure of their territories, as well as other preventive measures.
Once again, they have demonstrated their high capacity to adapt in spite of the exceptionally difficult context. This is why this year's theme is COVID-19 and Indigenous Peoples' Resilience. A virtual event organized by the UN will include a panel discussion on innovative ways Indigenous peoples continue to demonstrate resilience and strength in the face of the pandemic, while also coping with to serious threats to their survival. Find here the UN web page on the 2020 commemoration: https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/news/2020/07/idwip/