Neil Palmer/CIAT

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

The indigenous and other traditional peoples who live in the forests of Africa, Asia and Latin America have proven that they are the best guardians of precious natural resources that are vital to the global effort to slow climate change—their forests hold more carbon than any other. Yet their own governments often resist providing them with the rights and economic support they need in the face of a global land grab for new sources of food, fuel, mineral wealth, hydro-power and agro-industrial products such as soy and palm oil.

Burness has worked with forest peoples to ensure their voices are heard, by connecting them to journalists in international conferences and on journeys into tropical forest hotspots. In collaboration with researchers at NGOs such as the Rights and Resources Initiative, Global Witness, the Environmental Defense Fund, and World Resources Institute, we have also led journalists to cover evidence of the devastating impact of mining and illegal logging on indigenous territories.